The AIF Project

Robert Anton KAADEN

Regimental number6517
Place of birthNorthcote, Victoria
SchoolNorthcote State School, Northcote, Victoria
ReligionPresbyterian
OccupationFarm labourer
AddressUnion Street, Northcote, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation18
Next of kinFather, F Kaaden, 16 Union Street, Northcote, Victoria
Previous military serviceNil (exempt area under Compulsory Military Training scheme)
Enlistment date8 July 1916
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll12 June 1916
Place of enlistmentMelbourne, Victoria
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name6th Battalion, 21st Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/23/5
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A71 Nestor on 2 October 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll6th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 4 October 1917
Age at death17.9
Age at death from cemetery records19
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
47
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Franz and Francis Eunice KAADEN, Northcote, Victoria. CWGC site gives mother's name as Francis Emma KAADEN.
Family/military connectionsBrother: 1518 Gunner Franz Leslie KAADEN, 4th Divisional Ammunition Column, returned to Australia, 3 July 1919.
Other details

OC, Recruiting Depot, Northcote, wrote to Secretary, Local Recruiting committee, Northcote, 13 June 1916: 'Re Robert Anton KAADEN ... This man was born in Northcote. his Father was born in Austria, and arrived in Australia 40 years ago. He is now 51 and was naturalised 18 years ago. He has never revisited Germany. His Mother was born in Scotland of British Parents. Forwarded for the written opinion of the Confidential Committee as to this man's loyalty [,] also for the signature of the Committee which is absolutely necessary essential.' Recruiting Sergeant wrote: 'This man has been enterviewed [sic] and I find that he seems very loyal. Also his parents. He has a brother at the front. His Father was in the old Volunteers for years. Proof photos seen. Also Naturalisation Papers. He seems very anxious to get into camp with his mates at your earliest.' Approved by the Recruiting Committee, 3 July 1916.

War service: Western Front

Embarked Melbourne, 2 October 1916; disembarked Plymouth, England, 16 November 1916; marched out to 2nd Training Bn, Fovant, 21 November 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 25 February 1917; taken on strength, 6th Bn, in the field, 22 March 1917.

Admitted to 15th Australian Field Ambulance, 21 May 1917 (pyrexia, unknown origin), and transferred same day to 3rd Field Ambulance; to 1st Division Rest Station, 8 June 1917 (trench feet); to 3rd Field Ambulance, 20 June 1917; to 56th Casualty Clearing Station, 20 June 1917 (trench fever); to Ambulance Train No 29, 24 June 1917, and admitted to 8th General Hospital, Rouen, 25 June 1917; to No 2 Convalescent Depot, Rouen, 29 June 1917; to No 1 Convalescent Depot, Buchy, 7 July 1917; discharged to Base Details, 6 September 1917; rejoined Bn, in the field, 16 September 1917.

Reported wounded and missing in action, Belgium, 4 October 1917; Court of Enquiry, 18 July 1918, subsequently confirmed fate as killed in action, 4 October 1917.

Statement by 1518 Gunner F.L. KAADEN, 12 May 1918: 'I have made enquiries from numbers of the platoon of No 6517 Pte Kaaden R.A., 6th Bn, and hear that he was seen in a shell-hole in front of Hooge France on October 4, 1917, wounded in the head and dying. I have never seen him since.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, KAADEN Robert Anton

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