The AIF Project

John Joseph O'CONNOR

Regimental number4566
Place of birthPort Melbourne, Victoria
ReligionRoman Catholic
OccupationEngine driver
AddressHigh Street, Ararat, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation23
Next of kinFather, Mr T O'Connor, High Street, Ararat, Victoria
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date21 September 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name5th Battalion, 14th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/22/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A32 Themistocles on 28 January 1916
Rank from Nominal RollCorporal
Unit from Nominal Roll12th Light Trench Mortar Battery
FateKilled in Action 8 June 1917
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 31), 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
20
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Allotted to and proceeded to join 46th Bn, Zeitoun, 2 April 1916.

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 2 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, 8 June 1916. Transferred to 12th Light Trench Mortar Battery, 4 July 1916. Appointed Lance Corporal, 2 August 1916; promoted Corporal, 16 August 1916.

Admitted to 4th Australian Field Ambulance, 9 February 1917 (trench feet); transferred to 4th Divisional Rest Station, 25 February 1917; rejoined unit, 19 March 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 8 June 1917.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

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