The AIF Project

Joseph William PEARCE

Place of birthBallarat Victoria
OccupationMine manager
AddressBarkly Street, Ballarat, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation29
Next of kinFather, Isaiah Pearce, Barkly Street, Ballarat, Victoria
Enlistment dateNO ENTRY
Rank on enlistment2nd Lieutenant
Unit name21st Battalion, Headquarters
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/38/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A38 Ulysses on 10 May 1915
Rank from Nominal RollCaptain
Unit from Nominal Roll21st Battalion
FateKilled in Action 4 October 1917
Age at death from cemetery records31
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
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Isaiah and Anna PEARCE. Native of Ballarat, VIctoria

Military Cross

'For conspicuous gallantry during opeations. He guided up the relieving troops, under heavy fire, and remained on duty the following day, after being twice wounded until he was ordered back to the aid post. He has done other fine work.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 62
Date: 19 April 1917

Family/military connectionsCousin: 386 Pte John PEARCE, 1st Pioneer Bn, killed in action, 25 July 1916.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Proceeded to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (Gallipoli), 29 August 1915.

Mentioned in Special Order of the Day as one of the volunteer party that worked the 'Southland' into port after torpedo attack, 2 September 1915.

Appointed Lt, 8 October 1915.

Admitted to Hospital Ship, 28 October 1915 (jaundice); transferred to Malta, 2 November 1915, and admitted to Intarfa Hospital, 19 November 1915 (scarlet fever).

Rejoined Bn, Tel el Kebir, Egypt, 19 January 1916.

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 19 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 26 March 1916.

Promoted Captain, 21 August 1916.

Wounded in action, 24 August 1916 (gun shot wound, scapula); transferred to England, 5 September 1916, and admitted to 4th London General Hospital, Denmark Hill.

Awarded the Military Cross, 15 September 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 8 January 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 4 October 1917.

Medals: Military Cross, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

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