The AIF Project

William Joseph MAHER

Regimental number2350
Place of birthCarroll, New South Wales
ReligionRoman Catholic
AddressBarraba, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation32
Height5' 4.25"
Weight145 lbs
Next of kinFather, Martin J Maher, Chinchilla, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date12 May 1916
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll13 April 1916
Place of enlistmentBurraba, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name33rd Battalion, 4th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/50/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A30 Borda on 17 October 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll33rd Battalion
FateKilled in Action 8 June 1917
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
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Sydney, 17 October 1916; disembarked Plymouth, England, 9 January 1917; marched in to 9th Training Bn, Durrington, 12 January 1917.

Proceeded overseas to France, 15 March 1917; taken on strength, 33rd Bn, in the field, 5 April 1917.

Found guilty, 28 May 1917, of being absent without leave from 2 pm, 27 May, to 6 am, 28 May 1917: awarded 14 days' Field Punishment No 2, and forfeited a total of 16 days' pay.

Killed in action, 8 June 1917.

Handwritten notation on Form B103: 'Buried in the Vicinity of Messines'.

Statement, Red Cross File No 1670127, 2349 Pte B. METCALFE, A Company, 33rd Bn, 16 September 1917: 'His grave is in a little cemetery in Ploegsteert Wood. I did not see him kllled myself, but I know that he was killed by a shell in our trench the day after we went over at Messines.'

Second statement, 2210 Pte J.R. KELLY, B Company, 33rd Bn, 29 November 1917: 'I saw him killed at Messines on 8th June, about 4 p.m. in the trench. Fritz put a heavy barrage on us, and the trench was blown in. A shell killed him outright - cut him in two. He was buried just behind our line. There were no other graves near then. I helped to bury him. A rough wooden cross with his name & Battalion, in indelible pencil[,] was put on it.'

Third statement, 2393 Pte W.J. TEMPEST, B Company, 33rd Bn (patient, No 2 General Hospital (Quai), Havre), 2 April 1918: He was killed by a shell at Messines in our trenches about noon. He was hit in the head. His body was buried in one of the cemeteries at Messines Ridge.'

Fourth statement, 2439 Pte A. JONES, 33rd Bn (patient, Barry Road Hospital, Northampton, England), 9 April 1918: 'Maher was killed by a piece of our own shell in Ploegsteert Wood. He was hit on the head and killed instantly. He was buried by Percy Veale in Ploegsteert Wood.'

Fifth statement, 521 Sergeant W. PARTRIDGE, A Company, 33rd Bn, 22 April 1918: 'He was killed by M.G. Fire at Menin[,] being hit in the head when about 50 yards over the top. I do not know where he was buried.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, MAHER William Joseph
Red Cross File No 1670127

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