The AIF Project

John Maurice Orr COLAHAN

Regimental number4516
Place of birthSouth Africa
SchoolChristian Brothers, Windsor, Victoria (Catholic)
Age on arrival in Australia3
ReligionRoman Catholic
OccupationLaw student
Address89 Alma Road, St Kilda, Victoria
Marital statusMarried
Age at embarkation22
Next of kinWife, Mrs Marth E Colahan, 'Kangatong', 89 Alma Road, East St Kilda, Victoria
Previous military serviceServed in the Citizen Military Forces.
Enlistment date9 March 1916
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name29th Battalion, 12th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/46/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A7 Medic on 16 December 1916
Rank from Nominal RollGunner
Unit from Nominal Roll5th Field Artillery Brigade
FateKilled in Action 14 October 1917
Place of death or woundingPasschendaele, Ypres, Belgium
Age at death23
Age at death from cemetery records23
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 7), 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: Surgeon-Gen. and Elizabeth Newton Orr COLAHAN, husband of Mrs M. Ede B. Whitehouse (formerly COLAHAN), Telok, Anson, Perak, Federated Malay States. Native of South Africa
Family/military connectionsBrothers-in-law: Lt Andrew Christopher FOGARTY, 24th Bn, killed in action, 29 November 1915; Major J.P. Fogarty MC and CBE.
Other details

War service: Western Front

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

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