The AIF Project

William O'DEA

Regimental number390
Place of birthGawler, South Australia
ReligionRoman Catholic
OccupationBootmaker
AddressGawler, South Australia
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation41
Next of kinSister, Mrs Mary O'Dea, 49 Melbourne Street, North Adelaide, South Australia
Previous military serviceServed in the 2nd Bn, Commonwealth Horse, South African War.
Enlistment date1 February 1916
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll27 January 1916
Rank on enlistmentSapper
Unit nameMining Corps 1, Company 1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A38 Ulysses on 20 February 1916
Rank from Nominal Roll2nd Corporal
Unit from Nominal Roll1st Tunnelling Company
FateKilled in Action 5 April 1919
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 7), 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
27
Other details

War service: Western Front

Disembarked Marseilles, France, 5 May 1916. Detrained Hazebrouck, 8 May 1916.

Appointed 2nd Corporal, 1 December 1916.

Killed in action by enemy trench mortar, 5 April 1917.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

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