The AIF Project

Kenneth McRAE

Regimental number2360
Place of birthAberfoyle, Armidale, New South Wales
SchoolPrivate school
ReligionPresbyterian
OccupationGrazier
Address'Rockbank', Wongurbinda, Guyra, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation32
Height5' 6.5"
Weight131 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs Christina McRae, 'Rockbank', Wongurbinda, Guyra, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date10 April 1916
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll9 March 1916
Place of enlistmentWollomombi, 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 7 June 1917
Age at death from cemetery records33
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
122
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Donald and Christina MCRAE, Rock Bank, Wollomombi, New South Wales. Native of Aberfoyle, New South Wales
Other details

War service: Western Front

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

Proceeded overseas to France, 28 March 1917; taken on strength, 33rd Bn, in the field, 18 April 1917.

Missing in Action, 7-12 June 1917.

Court of Enquiry, held in the field, 1 December 1917: 'owing to lack of evidence no finding could be given'.

Fate determined, 1 March 1918, as 'Killed in Action, 7 June 1917'.

Note on Form B103: 'Buried in Toronto Avenue Cemetery. 1.25 Miles S. of Messines. "G" Sheet No 31117.'

Statement, Red Cross File No 1970608, 1 CQMS A.J. ARCHER, 33rd Bn, 26 November 1917: 'We were at Messines on June 7th. I was there and saw him killed outright by a shell on the morning of the 7th. Our 33rd Battn S/Bs took him out and buried him in Ploegsteert Cemetery and a cross was erected. I was not at the burial but was told of the place by Pte R.A. Nicholson of the 33rd Battn who was in the burial party.'

Second statement, 4400 Corporal P.R. KING, D Company, 33rd Bn (patient, Bath War Hospital, Bristol, England), 15 April 1918: 'He is buried just below Messines Ridge close to Dead Horse Corner. I have seen his grave in February. It has a board with his name and muber on it. I did not bury him, but knowing him well, I searched for his grave until I found it.'

Third statement, 1077 Sergeant C.S. BYRNE, D Company, 33rd Bn, 12 April 1918: 'I know that McRae was killed by a shell on the 7th June, but I did not see him killed. I know that a cross was put up to him at Dead Horse Corner, Ploegsteert Wood, because I saw it being made and taken out to put up.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, McRAE Kenneth
Red Cross File No 1970608

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