The AIF Project

Fernrick FURNESS

Regimental number2479
Place of birthSussex, England
Other NamesFurnrick Richard Charles
SchoolCoopers Company School, Bow, London, England
Age on arrival in Australia19
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationLabourer
AddressTallarook, Victoria
Marital statusMarried
Age at embarkation27
Next of kinWife, E M Furness, Tallarook, Victoria
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date2 August 1915
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll3 August 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name17th Battalion, 5th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/34/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A32 Themistocles on 5 October 1915
Rank from Nominal RollLance Corporal
Unit from Nominal Roll17th Battalion
Other details from Roll of Honour CircularAt sea for some time previous to going to Australia. ( E M Furness, wife)
FateKilled in Action 20 September 1917
Place of death or woundingFlanders, France
Age at death29
Age at death from cemetery records29
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 17), 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
82
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Richard and Thelma FURNESS; husband of Eva FURNESS, 'Glen-Doon', Gisborne, Victoria. Native of Sussex, England. Served as 'Furnrick Furness'. True name 'Furnrick Richard Charles FURNESS'.~
Other details

War service: embarked from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 17 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 23 March 1916.

Wounded in action, France, 26 July 1916 (bullet wound, face); admitted to 13th Stationary Hospital, Boulogne, 27 July 1916.; discharged to Base Details, 29 July 1916; rejoined Bn, 4 August 1916.

Admitted to hospital, 6 November 1916; transferred to 51st General Hospital, Etaples, 11 November 1916; discharged to duty, 27 December 1916; total period of treatment for venereal disease: 52 days.

Appointed Lance Corporal, 7 April 1917.

Wounded in action, 3 May 1917 (gun shot wound, left arm); admitted to 32nd Stationary Hospital, Wimereux, 4 May 1917. Transferred to England, 6 May 1917, and admitted to Edmonton Military Hospital, 7 May 1917. Discharged on furlough, 28 June 1917; marched in to No. 1 Command Depot, Perham Downs, 12 July 1917. Proceeded overseas to France, 28 July 1917; rejoined Bn, 1 September 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 20 September 1917. Buried in the vicinity of Westhoek and Anzac Ridge, Passchendaele, Belgium.

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

Widow wrote to Base Records, 15 October 1921: 'I must inform you that I have left Tallarook some time now & the above ["Glen-Doon", Gisborne] is my present address. I was wondering if you could tell me how I could stop a very ignorant and wicked woman who is always insulting me by saying I am no soldier's widow, do you think some of the Returned Soldiers could write to her for me, it is cruel when I have lost my poor husband and they are the people that are benefiting by our loss and sufferings. Hoping something can be done in the matter.'

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