The AIF Project

James TOPEN

Regimental number1969
Place of birthEast Geelong, Victoria
ReligionRoman Catholic
OccupationLabourer
AddressNormanby Road, South Melbourne, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation20
Next of kinMother, Mrs S Topen, 99 Moray Street, South Melbourne, Victoria
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date18 June 1915
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll19 June 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name22nd Battalion, 3rd Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/39/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A68 Anchises on 26 August 1915
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll22nd Battalion
Other details from Roll of Honour CircularFather drowned in the Yarra River, 1 December 1912.
FateKilled in Action 17 September 1917
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 17), 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
97
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Joined 22nd Bn, Tel el Kebir, 8 January 1916. Found guilty, 8 March 1916, of breaking out of camp, 0630, 9 March 1916, and remaining absent until 0630, 10 March 1916: awarded 12 days' Field Punishment No. 2 and forfeiture of 2 days' pay.

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 19 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, 26 March 1916. Admitted to 7th Field Ambulance, 20 April 1916 (mumps); transferred to No. 7 General Hospital, St Omer, 21 April 1916; discharged, 12 May 1916; rejoined Bn, 14 May 1916.

Found guilty, 26 May 1916, of drunkenness and being absent without leave in that he broke away from a fatigue party: awarded 28 days' Field Punishment No. 2. Found guilty, 9 July 1916, of drunkenness and breaking out of the ranks, 8 July 1916: awarded 14 days' Field Punishment No. 2. Found guilty, Puchevilliers, 23 July 1916, of being absent without leave from parade: awarded 168 hours Field Punishment No. 2.

Admitted to 5th Divisional Rest Station, 21 March 1917; transferred to 51st General Hospital, Etaples, 4 April 1917; discharged to Base details, 24 April 1917: total period of treatment for venereal disease: 35 days. Rejoined Bn, 24 May 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 17 September 1917.

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

Print format