The AIF Project

Robert Donlandson PERRAU

Regimental number526
Place of birthNewcastle, New South Wales
AddressTurnbull Street, Hamilton, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation21
Next of kinFather, William Roland Perrau, Turnbull Street, Hamilton, New South Wales
Previous military serviceServed for 3 years in the Senior Cadets; 1 year as 1st Lt in the 16th Infantry, Citizen Military Forces.
Enlistment date3 January 1916
Rank on enlistmentCSM (WO Class II)
Unit name35th Battalion, B Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/52/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A24 Benalla on 1 May 1916
Regimental number from Nominal RollCommissioned
Rank from Nominal Roll2nd Lieutenant
Unit from Nominal Roll35th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 11 June 1917
Age at death from cemetery records21
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 25), 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: William and Edith PERRAU, 'Gilnockie', Lawes Street, East Maitland, New South Wales. Native of Newcastle, New South Wales
Family/military connectionsFather: 1823 Corporal William Roland PERRAU, 16th Australian Railway Operating Company, returned to Australia, 27 August 1917.
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Sydney, 1 May 1916; disembarked Plymouth, England, 9 July 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 21 November 1916.

Appointed 2nd Lt, 27 December 1916.

Killed in action, 11 June 1917.

Statement by late OC, B Company, 35th Bn: 'This Officer was attached to my command during the battle of MESSINES and was killed by shellfire in the frontline trenches in front of Ultimo Crater (in front of St. IVES) on 11.6.17. I can state definately (sic) that he was later buried in, as far as I remember, a small cemetry (sic) in the vicinity of PLOEGSTEERT WOOD. The place of burial I am not now certain of but the burial was carried out, I believe, by Chaplin (sic) OSBORNE (Anglican), who was at that time attached to [the] 35th Bn, and whom I last heard of as being attached to No. 2 Command Depot, Weymouth.'

Grave lost in subsequent fighting.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

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