The AIF Project

Francis John William GILES

Regimental number3601
Date of birth6 January 1880
Place of birthGunning, New South Wales
SchoolGunning Public School, New South Wales
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationIronworker
Address'Riverina', Liverpool Road, Fairfield, New South Wales
Marital statusMarried
Age at embarkation36
Next of kinWife, Mrs Ellena Giles, 'Riverina', Liverpool Road, Fairfield, New South Wales
Enlistment date19 February 1916
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll22 January 1916
Rank on enlistmentLance Corporal
Unit nameTunnelling Company 4, Headquarters 1
AWM Embarkation Roll number16/10/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A69 Warilda on 22 May 1916
Rank from Nominal RollLance Corporal
Unit from Nominal Roll1st Tunnelling Company
FateKilled in Action 10 June 1917
Place of death or woundingMessines, Belgium
Age at death37.5
Age at death from cemetery records37
Place of burialNo known grave
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
26
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Son of Edward and Sarah Giles; husband of Ellenaa GILES, "Riverina", Canley Road, Fairfield, New South Wales. Native of Gunning, New South Wales
Other detailsMarried Ellena Marie Lewis, 15 May 1901, Broken Hill, New South Wales

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