The AIF Project

Rupert Henry MAJOR

Regimental number1680
Place of birthWilliamstown, Victoria
SchoolWilliamstown and Rushworth State Schools, Victoria
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationTinsmith
Address85 Harold Street, Middle Park, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation19
Next of kinFather, Herbert Major, 85 Harold Street, Middle Park, Victoria
Previous military service51st Infantry
Enlistment date31 January 1916
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name59th Battalion, 2nd Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/76/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A17 Port Lincoln on 4 May 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll58th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 12 October 1917
Age at death from cemetery records19
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 29), 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
166
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Herbert and Blanche MAJOR, The Avenue, Albert Park, Victoria. Native of Victoria
Other details

War service: Western Front

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

Australian Graves Services, London, wrote to Base Records, 1 February 1922: 'The above named soldiers [including R.H. MAJOR] were originally reported to have been buried at Cable Head I. In the course of operations Exhumation Parties working over that area were unable to identify the graves of the five soldiers mentioned and as the bodies found in the neighborhood of Cable Head] were re-interred in eleven different cemeteries it was quite out of the question to erect Special Crosses for those five other ranks.'

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