The AIF Project

William PADFIELD

Regimental numberR2284
Place of birthBristol, Somerset, England
Other NamesWilliam Herbert
SchoolPublic School
Age on arrival in Australia29
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationMiner
AddressHicksborough, Wonthaggi, Victoria
Marital statusWidower
Age at embarkation32
Next of kinSister, Mrs R Collier, Hicksborough, Wonthaggi, Victoria
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date18 December 1914
Place of enlistmentBroadmeadows, Victoria
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name6th Battalion, 19th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/23/5
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A32 Themistocles on 28 July 1916
Regimental number from Nominal Roll2284
Rank from Nominal RollCorporal
Unit from Nominal Roll6th Battalion
Other details from Roll of Honour Circular'He was at the landing at Gallipoli and was invalided back to Australia in February 1916. He embarked [again] in July 1916.' (Sister: Ruth Collier)
FateKilled in Action 4 October 1917
Place of death or woundingZonnebeke, Belgium
Age at death33
Age at death from cemetery records34
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
48
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents; William and Emily PADFIELD. Native of Bishop Sutton, Somerset, England
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Enlisted, 18 December 1914; embarked from Melbourne on board HMAT 'Clan Macgillivray', 2 February 1915, as 1470 Pte, 6th Bn, 2nd Reinforcement. Served at Gallipoli; returned to Australia.

Re-embarked from Melbourne, 28 July 1916; disembarked Plymouth, England, 11 September 1916. Proceeded overseas to France, 8 October 1916. Admitted to 15th Casualty Clearing Station, Hazebrouck, 24 October 1916 (self-inflicted wound: sprained ankle; found to have been accidentally sustained while playing football).

Transferred to 6th Bn, 3 December 1916. Promoted Corporal, 7 May 1917.

Admitted to No. 3 Casualty Clearing Station, 8 May 1917 (sprained ankle: marching to the trenches; found to be 'in no way to blame'); transferred to No. 6 General Hospital, Rouen, 17 May 1917; rejoined unit, 29 May 1917.

Admitted to 1st Australian Field Ambulance, 7 July 1917 (sprained ankle: training; found to be 'in no way to blame'); rejoined unit, 27 July 1917.

Wounded and missing in action, 4 October 1917; Court of Enquiry, 5 August 1918, confirmed fate as 'Killed in Action'.

Red Cross received a report from 1959 Pte D.D. GRAY, 6th Bn: 'Casualty [PADFIELD] was going into the front line trench at Zonnebeke. I was a Stretcher Bearer and was following Casualty in when a high explosive shell exploded near him, a piece entering his head and mortally wounding him. I went to Casualty's assistance directly I saw him fall and fixed him up, and placed him in a shell hole nearby. An hour later I returned to the spot where I left Casualty and he was still there but quite dead. I was wounded the same day and I do not know if he was buried.'

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, PADFIELD William
Red Cross File No 2070908

Print format