The AIF Project


Regimental number2035
Place of birthLiverpool, England
SchoolR.C. Day School, Liverpool, England
Age on arrival in Australia28
ReligionRoman Catholic
AddressJubilee Estate, Paddington, Brisbane, Queensland
Marital statusMarried
Age at embarkation33
Height5' 4.5"
Weight127 lbs
Next of kinWife, Mrs M Cawley, Queen Street, Jubilee Estate, Paddington, Brisbane, Queensland
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date31 May 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name25th Battalion, 3rd Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/42/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Brisbane, Queensland, on board HMAT A55 Kyarra on 16 August 1915
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll25th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 21 September 1917
Place of death or woundingPolygon Wood, Belgium
Age at death from cemetery records32
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 23), Belgium

The Menin Gate Memorial (so named because the road led to the town of Menin) was constructed on the site of a gateway in the eastern walls of the old Flemish town of Ypres, Belgium, where hundreds of thousands of allied troops passed on their way to the front, the Ypres salient, the site from April 1915 to the end of the war of some of the fiercest fighting of the war.

The Memorial was conceived as a monument to the 350,000 men of the British Empire who fought in the campaign. Inside the arch, on tablets of Portland stone, are inscribed the names of 56,000 men, including 6,178 Australians, who served in the Ypres campaign and who have no known grave.

The opening of the Menin Gate Memorial on 24 July 1927 so moved the Australian artist Will Longstaff that he painted 'The Menin Gate at Midnight', which portrays a ghostly army of the dead marching past the Menin Gate. The painting now hangs in the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, at the entrance of which are two medieval stone lions presented to the Memorial by the City of Ypres in 1936.

Since the 1930s, with the brief interval of the German occupation in the Second World War, the City of Ypres has conducted a ceremony at the Memorial at dusk each evening to commemorate those who died in the Ypres campaign.

Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: James and Ann CAWLEY; husband of Mary CAWLEY, Queen Street, Jubilee Estate, Paddington, Queensland. Native of Liverpool, England~
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Taken on strength, 25th Bn, Gallipoli, 8 December 1915. Disembarked Alexandria from Mudros, 9 January 1916 (general Gallipoli evacuation).

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 14 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, 19 March 916.

Found guilty, 29 March 1916, of stealing goods belonging to a Regimental Mess: awarded 60 days' Field Punishment No. 2 (awaiting trial 5 days); punishment to commence 30 March 1916.

Admitted to 7th Field Ambulance, 25 May 1917, and transferred to 9th Casualty Clearing Station (gonnorhoea); to 30th General Hospital, 31 May 1917; discharged, 4 July 1917; total period of treatment for venereal disease: 41 days. Rejoined Bn, 31 July 1917.

On leave to England, 8 August 1917; rejoined Bn from leave, 31 July 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 21 September 1917.

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

No 111 Corporal M. HASSETT, 'A' Coy Signallers, 25th Bn, wrote to CAWLEY's Mother from England, 16 November 1917: 'I am sorry to write to you on this occasion, but it is part of my duty to write to you. It was a very sad time for me when I seen Jim getting killed, we were so happy together we never thought they could kill either of us, it was just on the last hour of getting relieved that he and our officer was killed right out, there was no chance of saving him, we buried him the best we could at the time till we got out of the trenches, then we made a big cross and put it over him, he also seen Father Barry about 2 hours before he went up you might remember him, he is from Brisbane. Jim was killed on the 21st Sept about 6 p.m., I wrote home to my mother for her to go to his people I would have wrote to you sooner only I had lost your address so I had to send home for it. There is a wallet of Jims at the Battalion A. Coy. I didnt know what to do so I left it with Q.M.S. King. At present I am in Hospital in London I have had a lot of gas I lost my voice and my eyes was very bad but I am a bit better now I am walking about well Mrs. Cawley that is all at present. Remember me to May with best of luck Yours sincerely, M. Hassett.' Assistant Adjutant-General, 1st Military District, wrote to Base Records, 5 January 1918: 'Mrs M. Cawley, wife of No. 2035 Private James Cawley, 25th Battalion, called at this office yesterday afternoon and produced the attached letter received from No. 111, Private Martin Hassett, 25th Battalion, in which it is stated that the death of Pte Cawley occurred on the 21st September last [and not, as advised in Base Records cable, 4 January 1918, on 21 December 1917]. Mrs Cawley was greatly upset at receiving the information in this way, and without any prior official notification.' Base Records , 25 January 1918, confirmed to Mrs Cawley that 21 September, not 21 December 1918, as previously advised, was the correct date of death.

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