The AIF Project

John FRANCIS

Regimental number4498
Place of birthBullumwaal, Victoria
SchoolBullumwaal State School, Victoria
ReligionRoman Catholic
OccupationLabourer
AddressBullumwaal, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation38
Next of kinFather, J Francis, Bullumwaal, Victoria
Previous military serviceBullumwaal Rifle Club
Enlistment date3 November 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name6th Battalion, 14th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/23/4
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A32 Themistocles on 28 January 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll6th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 4 October 1917
Place of death or woundingNot known
Age at death38
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
46
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: John and Mary Ann FRANCIS. Native of Bullumwaal, Victoria
Family/military connectionsBrothers: 2893 Sapper Henry Frederick FRANCIS, 3rd Tunnelling Company, killed in action, 27 November 1916; 3989 Pte Reginald FRANCIS, 8th Bn, died of wounds, 20 September 1917.
Other details

War service: Western Front

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

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