The AIF Project

Claude Albert PHELPS

Regimental number6680
Place of birthNeutral Bay, Sydney, New South Wales
ReligionPresbyterian
OccupationPainter
Address60 Undercliff Street, Neutral Bay, Sydney, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation25
Next of kinFather, James Phelps, 60 Undercliff Street, Neutral Bay, Sydney, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date16 December 1915
Rank on enlistmentSapper
Unit name7th Field Company Engineers, Reinforcement 4
AWM Embarkation Roll number14/26/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A67 Orsova on 11 March 1916
Rank from Nominal RollSapper
Unit from Nominal Roll7th Field Company Engineers
FateKilled in Action 4 October 1917
Age at death from cemetery records26
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
24
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: James and Maria PHELPS, 60 Undercliff Street, Neutral Bay, New South Wales
Family/military connectionsBrothers: 15762 Driver Arthur Milliard PHELPS, 15th Field Company Engineers, returned to Australia, 22 May 1919; 5014 Driver Herbert Lindsay PHELPS, 14th Field Company Engineers, returned to Australia, 8 May 1919.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Disembarked Alexandria, Egypt, 14 April 1916, and joined Miscellaneous Reinforcements.

Embarked for England, 28 May 1916. Found guilty,14 August 1916, of drunk while in town on active service; of creating a disturbance; and of hesitating to obey an order given by an NCO: awarded 14 days' detention.

Proceeded overseas to France, 11 November 1916, to join 7th Field Company Engineers. On leave to England, 27 August 1917; rejoined unit from leave, 11 September 1917.

Killed in action, 4 October 1917. Buried in isolated grave, Moulins Farm, Zonnebeke, 4.75 miles E.N.E. of Ypres, Belgium. Grave lost in subsequent fighting.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

Print format