The AIF Project

Keith Blaxland Lester HAYS

Regimental number14485
Place of birthBanksia Station via Rockhampton, Queensland
SchoolState School, Longreach, Queensland
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationDrover
AddressIbis Street, Longreach, Queensland
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation22
Next of kinMother, Mrs Ada Frances Caroline Hays, Ibis Street, Longreach, Queensland
Previous military serviceServed in the Cadets.
Enlistment date2 November 1915
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll2 November 1915
Rank on enlistmentSapper
Unit nameJuly 1916 Reinforcements
AWM Embarkation Roll number14/42/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A44 Vestalia on 11 July 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll13th Field Company Engineers
FateKilled in Action 8 June 1917
Place of death or woundingMessines, Belgium
Age at death23
Age at death from cemetery records22
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
24
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Sydney and Ada HAYS, Ibis Street, Longreach, Queensland. Native of Rockhampton
Other details

War service: Western Front

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

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