The AIF Project

James HAM

Regimental number1530
Place of birthDenham, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll12 February 1916
Rank from Nominal RollLance Corporal
Unit from Nominal Roll34th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 1 October 1917
Age at death from cemetery records30
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
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: John and Sarah HAM, Giant's Creek, New South Wales

Distinguished Conduct Medal

'For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. During a hostile raid he handled his Lewis gun with great courage and ability. He, with one other man, succeeded in accounting for five of the enemy, who were the only party who gained a footing in our trench.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 219
Date: 20 December 1917

Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked from Sydney, 2 May 1916; disembarked Plymouth, England, 23 June 1916. Proceeded overseas to France, 21 November 1916.

Admitted to Isolation Hospital, Ballieul, 6 December 1916 (mumps); transferred to 7th General Hospital, St Omer, 7 December 1916; discharged to Base Details, 27 December 1916; rejoined Bn, 29 December 1916.

Appointed Lance Corporal, 3 March 1917; Temporary Corporal, 20 June 1917; Corporal and Temporary Lance Sergeant, 25 June 1917; Sergeant, 30 July 1917.

Awarded Distinguished Conduct Medal, 16 August 1917. Detached to 2nd Army Rest Camp, 27 August 1917; rejoined from detachment, 8 September 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 1 October 1917.

Medals: Distinguished Conduct Medal, British War Medal, Victory Medal

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