William Ernest CORNFORD

Regimental number245
Place of birthNumurkah, Victoria
AddressBenalla PO, Benalla, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation21
Next of kinFather, John William Cornford, Benalla PO, Benalla, Victoria
Previous military serviceServed for 18 months in the 58th Infantry, Citizen Military Forces.
Enlistment date14 February 1916
Rank on enlistmentLance Corporal
Unit name37th Battalion, A Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/54/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A34 Persic on 3 June 1916
Rank from Nominal RollCorporal
Unit from Nominal Roll37th Battalion
Other details from Roll of Honour CircularEnlisted 14 February 1916; TOS, 37 Btn 18 April 1916; Cpl 5 March 1917.
FateKilled in Action 8 June 1917
Place of death or woundingMessines, Belgium
Age at death22
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 25), 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
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked from Melbourne, 3 June 1916; disembarked Plymouth, 25 July 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 22 November 1916.

Promoted Corporal, 5 March 1917.

Killed in action, 8 June 1917.

Pte W. MARSH, Oakleigh, Vic, stated [date not recorded]: 'I was with Cpl. W.E. Cornford when he was killed. He was killed instantly at the black line Messines at 3 p.m. on June 8th 1917, whilst we were waiting for the enemy to counter-attack. I cannot give definite information as to burial, but believe he was buried in the vicinity of Hill 63, near Ploogstreet, there are five or six military cemeteries there. Cornford belonged to A. Coy. Nickname "Larry". About 5ft 9ins. fair, exceptionally popular, amongst all ranks.' File annotated: 'Reliable informant'.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal