The AIF Project

William Harry GRILLS

Regimental number3384
Place of birthWallsend New South Wales
ReligionPresbyterian
OccupationLabourer
Addressc/o Mrs Anderson, Fitzroy Street, Quirindi, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation32
Next of kinMother, Mrs Jerimiah Brown, Melbourne Street, Abermain, New South Wales
Enlistment date1 December 1916
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name54th Battalion, 9th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/71/4
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A68 Anchises on 24 January 1917
Regimental number from Nominal Roll3384A
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll35th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 12 October 1917
Age at death from cemetery records32
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
125
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: William GRILLS and Jemima BROWN, his wife, Melbourne Street, Abermain, New South Wales. Native of Wallsend, New South Wales
Other details

War service: Western Front

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

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