The AIF Project

William PROCTOR

Regimental number7287
Place of birthBungowannah, New South Wales
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationFarmer
AddressBungowannah, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation23
Height5' 10"
Weight141 lbs
Next of kinFather, T Proctor, Bungowannah, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date7 December 1916
Place of enlistmentMelbourne, Victoria
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name7th Battalion, 24th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/24/5
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A70 Ballarat on 19 February 1917
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll1st Machine Gun Battalion
FateKilled in Action 11 November 1917
Age at death from cemetery records23
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 31), 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
179
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Thomas and Martha PROCTOR, Bungowannah, New South Wales
Family/military connectionsBrother: 360 Pte John Thomas PROCTOR, 12th Light Horse Regiment, returned to Australia, 17 July 1916.
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Melbourne, 19 February 1917; disembarked Devonport, England, 25 April 1917; marched in to 2nd Training Bn, Durrington, 26 April 1917.

Transferred to Machine Gun Details, Grantham, 25 July 1917.

Proceeded overseas to France, 18 October 1917; taken on strength, 3rd Machine Gun Company, in the field, 23 October 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 11 November 1917.

Red Cross File No 2210401A, Note on file: 'No trace Germany. Cert. by Capt. Mills 10.10.19.'

Statement, 292 Pte M. NAUGHTON, 3rd Machine Gun Company (patient, 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Dartford, England), 11 April 1918: 'He was killed instantly by a shell at about 2 a.m. on or about Nov. 10th, when on a ration party at Broodseinde Ridge, and is buried on the spot.'

Second statement, 4439 Corporal A. WADSWORTH, 3rd Machine Gun Company, 15 May 1918: 'He was with me on a ration party on Sunday Nov 11th about 5 a.m. and we were making home to the Battery again when a shell burst, killing him, and wounding another man named Perriman, Gnr. 3rd M.G. Co. and myself. I'm sure that he was killed because before I left the spot I found Stretcher Bearers and they told me so. After I made my way back and have been in England ever since. Consequently I have heard nothing since. This happened on Passchendaele Ridge, near Zonnebeke and a little past the ruins of the Gasworks belonging to that village, and on the main road to the right of the railway. I don't think that we [sic; he] will be buried in a Cemetery, because that was a busy part of the World at that time. However I ca't say for certain, because I went straight out with my own wounds. I can't describe him very well because he had only been with us a week or so I had met him only once or twice, but as far as I can remember he was about 5ft. 9ins. tall, fair, medium build with a serious expression of countenance. He was also very quiet and retiring. The number, name and initials are right as far as I can remember.'

Third statement, 550 Pte F.V. BISHOP, 3rd Machine Gun Company (patient, 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Dartford, England), 27 August 1918: 'I had complained of sore feet so Cpl. Wadsworth asked Proctor to take my place and accompany him in going out for rations. While waiting at Passchendaele for the rations Proctor was killed outright by a shell and Wadsworth was wounded.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, PROCTOR William
Red Cross File No 2210401A

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