The AIF Project

Walter Cecil GJESSING

Regimental number556
Place of birthMudgee, New South Wales
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationGrocer
AddressP O Wongarbon, Wongarbon, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation20
Height5' 4.5"
Weight134 lbs
Next of kinFather, H Gjessing, P O Wongarbon, Wongarbon, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date11 February 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name19th Battalion, B Company
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT Ceramic on 25 June 1915
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll19th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 18 September 1917
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
88
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Hans and Elizabeth GJESSING, Denison Street, Mudgee, New South Wales
Family/military connectionsBrother: 7250 Pte Albert GJESSING, 3rd Bn, died of wounds, 23 August 1918.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, Gallipoli, 16 August 1915. Disembarked Alexandria from Mudros, 7 January 1916 (general Gallipoli evacuation).

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 18 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, 25 March 1916.

Found guilty, 18 May 1916, of (1) absenting himself without leave from 7.45 pm to 8.30 pm, 15 May 1916; (2) conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline in hesitating to promptly carry out an order, 15 May: awarded 7 days' Field Punishment No 2.

Found guilty, 2 November 1916, of when on Active service, absenting himself without leave from 2 pm to 10 pm, 1 November (8 hours): awarded 4 days' Field Punishment No 2.

Found guilty, 8 February 1917, of absenting himself without leave from 3 pm, 3 January 1917, to 3 pm, 7 January 1917: awarded 14 days' Field Punishment No 2.

Admitted to 6th Field Ambulance, 31 March 1917 (scabies); transferred to Anzac Scabies Station, 31 March 1917; to 5th Divisional Rest Station, 21 April 1917; discharged to duty, 7 May 1917; rejoined Bn, 11 May 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 18 September 1917.

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

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