The AIF Project

Lawerence Selvester POLOMKA

Regimental number5431
Place of birthClare, South Australia
Other NamesLawrence Selverster
AddressLipson, South Australia
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation25
Height5' 6"
Weight150 lbs
Next of kinFather, John Polomka, Seven Hills, South Australia
Previous military serviceMember for 3 months of Tumby Bay Rifle Club; still a member at time of enlistment.
Enlistment date11 March 1916
Place of enlistmentTumby Bay, South Australia
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name27th Battalion, 14th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/44/4
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Adelaide, South Australia, on board HMAT A70 Ballarat on 12 August 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll27th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 20 September 1917
Place of burialNo known grave
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
Son of Mr J. POLOMKA
Family/military connectionsBrother: 5391 Pte Valentine POLOMKA, 27th Bn, returned to Australia, 15 May 1919.
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Adelaide, 12 August 1916; disembarked Plymouth, England, 30 September 1916, and marched in to 7th Training Bn, Rollestone.

Proceeded overseas to France, 16 November 1916; admitted to Isolation Hospital, Etaples, 17 November 1916; transferred to 24th General Hospital, 2 December 1916 (mumps); to 18th General Hospital, 10 December 1916; discharged to Base Details, 22 December 1916.

Taken on strength, 27th Bn, in the field, 28 December 1916.

Killed in action, Belgium, 20 September 1917.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, POLOMKA Lawerence Selvester

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