The AIF Project

William George PURVIS

Regimental number1337
Place of birthYea, Victoria
AddressHomewood, via Yea, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation28.10
Height5' 9"
Weight164 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs J G Purvis, Homewood, via Yea, Victoria
Previous military serviceServed for 6 years in the 6th Australian Light Horse.
Enlistment date10 March 1915
Place of enlistmentMelbourne, Victoria
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name4th Light Horse Regiment, 10th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number10/9/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A70 Ballarat on 9 September 1915
Rank from Nominal Roll2nd Lieutenant
Unit from Nominal Roll1st Anzac cyclists' Battalion
FateKilled in Action 12 October 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
Family/military connectionsCousin: 6356 Pte Joseph Albert THOMAS, 7th Bn, killed in action, 1 August 1918.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Admitted to No. 4 Auxiliary Hospital, Heliopolis, Egypt, 12 December 1915 (mumps); discharged to duty, 4 January 1916.

Appointed Sergeant, 18 March 1916.

Transferred to 1st Cyclists' Corps, 20 March 1916.

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 25 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 30 March 1916.

Taken on strength, 1st Anzac Cyclists' Bn, 12 May 1916.

Promoted Company Sergeant Major, 7 October 1916.

Attached to No. 5 Officer Training Bn, Cambridge, England, 12 February 1917.

Appointed 2nd Lt, 2 June 1917.

Proceeded overseas to France, 8 August 1917; taken on strength, 34th Bn, 19 August 1917.

Wounded and missing in action, 12 October 1917.

Court of Enquiry, 26 May 1918, determined fate as killed in action, 12 October 1917.

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, PURVIS William George

Print format