The AIF Project

John ELDRIDGE

Regimental number431
Place of birthMaldon, Victoria
SchoolSt Mary's (Catholic) School, Castlemaine, Victoria
ReligionRoman Catholic
OccupationRail planer
AddressBowden Street, Castlemaine, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation26
Next of kinFather, Henry Eldridge, Bowden Street, Castlemaine, Victoria
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date11 April 1916
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name38th Battalion, A Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/55/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A54 Runic on 20 June 1916
Rank from Nominal RollLance Corporal
Unit from Nominal Roll38th Battalion
Other details from Roll of Honour CircularHe was a noted Footballer of the Castlemaine District.
FateKilled in Action 07-9 June 1917
Place of death or woundingMessines, Belgium
Age at death27
Age at death from cemetery records27
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
129
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Henry and Ellen ELDRIDGE, Bowen Street, Castlemaine, Victoria. Native of Maldon, Victoria
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked from Melbourne, 20 June 1916; disembarked Plymouth, England, 10 August 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 22 November 1916.

Promoted Lance Corporal, 4 June 1917.

Killed in action, 7-9 June 1917.

Base Records informed Mr H. Eldridge, 7 August 1919: '... he was killed in action, together with several others, on the morning of 8.6.17. The party were sitting talking, having just completed "digging in" when they were killed instantaneously by the burst of a high explosive shell in the front line trench. He was buried during the afternoon (under fire) in a large shell hole a few yards back of the trench, the approximate position of same being 1500 yards South South west of Messines. A cross was not erected at the time owing to the fact that operations were in progress.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

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