The AIF Project

William Bennett PENGILLY

Regimental number355
Date of birth22 December 1885
Place of birthParkside, South Australia
SchoolParkside Public School, Adelaide, South Australia
ReligionMethodist
OccupationBlacksmith
Address3 South Railway Parade, Goodwood, South Australia
Marital statusMarried
Age at embarkation30
Next of kinWife, Mrs Sarah Adelaide May Pengilly, 3 South Railway Parade, Goodwood, South Australia
Previous military serviceServed for 4 years in the 10th Infantry Regiment, Citizen Military Forces. Previously rejected for AIF enlistment on account of deficient teeth.
Enlistment date4 January 1916
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name43rd Battalion, Machine Gun Section
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/60/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Adelaide, South Australia, on board HMAT A19 Afric on 9 June 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll43rd Battalion
FateKilled in Action 15 October 1917
Age at death from cemetery records31
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 27), 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
137
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Richard and Thirza PENGILLY, 34 Fuller Street, Parkside, South Australia; husband of Mrs S. PENGILLY
Family/military connectionsBrother: 19623 Sergeant Arthur Gordon PENGILLY, 8th Field Artillery Brigade, returned to Australia.
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Adelaide, 9 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 20 July 1916; proceeded on to England.

Proceeded overseas to France, 25 November 1916.

Killed in action, Belgium, 15 October 1917.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

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