The AIF Project

Ernest Edward LANCASTER

Regimental number1419
Place of birthPenrith, New South Wales
SchoolKingswood Public School, New South Wales
AddressAmarina, Grafton, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation22
Height5' 8.5"
Weight155 lbs
Next of kinSister, Mrs Smith, Amarina, Grafton, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date6 August 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name5th Light Horse Regiment, 11th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number10/10/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A47 Mashrobra on 4 October 1915
Rank from Nominal RollCorporal
Unit from Nominal Roll14th Field Artillery Brigade
FateKilled in Action 17 October 1917
Place of death or woundingFrance
Age at death25.9
Age at death from cemetery records24
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 17), 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: Richard and Sarah LANCASTER, Dyraaba Street, Casino, New South Wales
Family/military connectionsBrother: 1584 Pte George Albert LANCASTER, 9th Bn, killed in action, 13 August 1915.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Taken on strength, Composite Light Horse Regiment, Heliopolis, 20 November 1915. Rejoined 5th Light Horse Regiment, Maadi, 18 January 1916. Taken on strength, 14th Field Artillery Brigade, and posted to 55th Battery, Tel el Kebir, 27 March 1916.Promoted Bombardier, 22 May 1916.

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 20 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, 30 June 1916. Promoted Corporal, 24 October 1916.

Admitted to 8th Australian Field Ambulance, 2 January 1917 (laryngitis); transferred to New Zealand Stationary Hospital, 4 January 1917; transferred by ambulance train to 6th General Hospital, Rouen, 7 January 1917. Discharged to Base, 14 January 1917; rejoined unit, 9 February 1917.

To School of Instruction, 6 March 1917; rejoined unit, 16 March 1917. On leave, 12 May 1917; rejoined unit, 26 May 1917.

Admitted to 46th Field Ambulance, 19 August 1917 (orchitis); transferred to 39th General Hospital, 22 August 1917; discharged to Base, 21 September 1917 (non-venereal). Rejoined unit, 1 October 1917.

Killed in action, 17 October 1917.

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

Sister, Mrs Fanny SMITH, wrote to Base Records, 20 September 1921: ' ... my Brother ... wished to leave me anything he had. In November of the year 1914 my Father & Brother had a row & my Brother was told to leave home which he did as they could not agree long at any time. My Brother enlisted in Aug 1915 & in Sep. Father coaxed him to come home to see his Mother before he sailed. So he spent part of the final leave at home. When my Brother came to see me for the last time before he sailed he told me that Father only did it to get the Bit he had to leave but he said that he did not want his Father to have anything after he had gone as he had got enough out of him while he was alive & that I was to have all there was to get as I was good to him in giving him a home when he wanted one & I was his favourite sister. I advised him otherwise but he never changed his mind.' Medals were allotted to the father.
SourcesNAA: B2455, LANCASTER Ernest Edward

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