The AIF Project

Harold Lewis THOMPSON

Regimental number2233
Place of birthSydney, New South Wales
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationCoal lumper
Address32 Undercliffe Cottage, Argyle Place, Miller's Point, New South Wales
Marital statusMarried
Age at embarkation25
Height5' 2"
Weight140 lbs
Next of kinWife, Mrs E Thompson, 32 Undercliffe Cottage, Argyle Place, Miller's Point, New South Wales
Enlistment date14 July 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name20th Battalion, 4th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/37/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A8 Argyllshire on 30 September 1915
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll20th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 9 October 1917
Age at death from cemetery records27
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
Husband of Ellen A. THOMPSON, 32 Argyle Place, Miller's Point, New South Wales
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Embarked from Alexandria for Gallipoli, 4 November 1915. Taken on strength, 20th Bn, 11 November 1915. Disembarked Alexandria ex Mudros, 9 January 1916 (general Gallipoli evacuation).

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 18 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, 25 March 916.

Found guilty, 18 August 1916, of neglecting to obey D.R.O. 973, being a soldier when in billets was found beyond the limits fixed by D.R.O. without a pass or written leave from his C.O., 13 August 1916: awarded 7 days' Field Punishment No. 2.

Admitted to 5th Australian Field Ambulance, 14 November 1916 (pains in back); rejoined Bn, 22 November 1916. Admitted to 6th Australian Field Ambulance, 21 January 1917 (deafness); transferred to 9th General Hospital, Rouen, 21 January 1917; to 2nd Convalescent Depot, 6 February 1917; to 2nd Austalkian Division Base Depot Segregation Camp, Etaples, 2 March 1917; rejoined unit, 28 March 1917.

Admitted to 6th Australian Field Ambulance, 11 June 1917 (chancre); transferred to 39th General Hospital, 16 June 1917; discharged to 2nd ADBD, 8 August 1917, after period of treatment for venereal disease. Rejoined Bn, 27 August 1917.

Killed in action, 9 October 1917. Buried.

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

Wife wrote to Base Records, 26 November 1917: 'I was informed by the Minister the other week that my husband Harold Lewis Thompson 2233 Private 20 Battalion Signal Section was killed on the 9th October. Sir the Minister said that I would hear from you in a few days but I am so upset and would be so thankful to you if you will be so kind as to let me know something more as it means so much to me. He is all I had. Plase let me know as soon as possible. Hoping you will not mind me writing.' Base Records replied, 30 November 191&, that it had at that stage no information other than 'that contained in the brief cable message - "Killed in action, 9-10-17"', and that any further information would be forwarded as it came to hand.

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