The AIF Project

Leonard Francis MacDONNELL

Regimental number1627
Place of birthGympie, Queensland
ReligionRoman Catholic
OccupationStudent
AddressSouth Side, Gympie, Queensland
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation19
Height5' 9"
Weight141 lbs
Next of kinMrs S V MacDonnell, South Side, Gympie, Queensland
Previous military serviceServed in the Senior Cadets and in the 7th Infantry, Citizen Military Forces; still serving at time of AIF enlistment.
Enlistment date11 May 1915
Place of enlistmentBrisbane, Queensland
Rank on enlistmentDriver
Unit name7th Field Ambulance, 2nd Reinforcements
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A51 Chilka on 7 June 1915
Regimental number from Nominal RollCommissioned
Rank from Nominal Roll2nd Lieutenant
Unit from Nominal Roll26th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 4 October 1917
Age at death from cemetery records21
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
108
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Commemorated on University of Queensland Roll of Honour ('Pro Patria Ceciderunt'; They fell for their Country), St Lucia, Queensland. Parents: James and Mary MACDONNELL, South Side, Gympie, Queensland
Family/military connectionsBrothers: 94 Pte Neil Thomas Joseph Byrnes MacDONNELL, 3rd Machine Gun Bn, died of wounds, 17 March 1917; 2650 Sergeant Valentine Vincent MacDONNELL, Light Horse Details, returned to Australia, 17 July 1919.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Taken on strength as Driver, 7th Australian Field Ambulance, Heliopolis, 20 July 1915.

Embarked from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 14 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, 19 March 1916.

Evacuated to No. 8 Casualty Clearing Station, 23 June 1916 (acute myalgia); transferred to Australian Hospital, Wimereux, 24 June 1916; invalided to England, 25 June 1916, and admitted to Trent Bridge Military Hospital, Nottingham. Transferred to No. 1 Auxiliary Hospital, Harefield, 28 August 1916 (rheumatic fever). Discharged to No. 2 Command Depot, Weymouth, 28 August 1916. Marched in to AAMC Training Depot, 30 September 1916. Proceeded overseas to France, 12 October 1916.

Admitted to 26th General Hospital, Etaples, 3 November 1916 (abcess, neck); rejoined unit, 16 November 1916. Transferred to 26th Bn, 28 November 1916. Promoted Corporal, 25 February 1917.

Joined No. 2 Officer Cadet Bn, Pembroke College, Oxford, 7 April 1917. Appointed 2nd Lt, 3 August 1917. Proceeded overseas to France, 18 August 1917; taken on strength, 26th Bn, 23 August 1917. Detached to Lewis Gun School, Le Touquet, 3 September 1917; rejoined Bn, Belgium, 25 September 1917.

Killed in action, 4 October 1917.

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

SourcesNAA: B2455, MacDONNELL Leonard Francis

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