The AIF Project

Thomas Allen GIBBENS

Regimental number3233
Place of birthCarlton, Victoria
Other NamesThomas Alan
SchoolState School No. 253, Footscray, Victroia
ReligionBaptist
OccupationPlumber
Address7 Greenham Place, Footscray, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation19
Height5' 4.75"
Weight115 lbs
Next of kinFather, William Henry Gibbens, 7 Greenham Place, Footscray, Victoria
Previous military serviceServed for 3 years in the Senior Cadets (65th Footscray); 18 months in Citizen Military Forces.
Enlistment date5 February 1916
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll3 February 1916
Place of enlistmentBroadmeadows, Victoria
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name29th Battalion, 7th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/46/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A35 Berrima on 4 July 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll29th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 28 September 1917
Place of death or woundingPolygon Wood, Belgium
Age at death21.6
Age at death from cemetery records21
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 23), 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
115
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: William and Elizabeth GIBBENS, 7 Greenham Place, Footscray, Victoria
Family/military connectionsBrother: 5092 Pte Alfred William GIBBENS, 8th Bn, returned to Australia, 19 February 1919.
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Melbourne, 4 July 1916; disembarked Devonport, England, 22 August 1916; marched in to 8th Training Bn, Larkhill, 23 August 1916.

Admitted to Camp Hospital, Codford, 9 October 1916 (haemorrhoids); discharged from hospital, 14 October 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 12 November 1916; taken on strength, 7th Bn, in the field, 25 november 1916.

Admitted to 14th Australian Field Ambulance, 2 January 1917 (blistered feet), and transferred same day to Anzac Corps Rest Station; to 36th Casualty Clearing Station, 10 January 1917 (appendicitis); to 1st Australian General Hospital, Rouen, 12 January 1917; to No 2 Convalescent Depot, 17 January 1917; to Base Depot, Etaples, 22 January 1917.

Admitted to 26th General Hospital, Etaples, 12 February 1917 (dermatitis); transferred to 25th General Hospital, Hardelot, 27 February 1917; to Base Depot, 9 April 1917; rejoined unit, in the field, 21 April 1917.

Found guilty, 1 June 1917, of disobedience of orders in that he failed to appear at place of parade appointed by his Commanding Officer: awarded 1 day's Field Punishment No 2.

Detached to Pigeon School, 1 July 1917; rejoined unit from detachment, 4 July 1917.

Detached to 25th Machine Gun Company, 19 September 1917.

Wounded in action, 28 September 1917; subsequently reported missing in action; and further subsequently confirmed killed in action, 29 September 1917.

Buried at Westhoek Ridge (J.7.b.7.7.) Sheet 28 NE, by 1st Anzac Corps Burial Officer.

Grave subsequently lost.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

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