The AIF Project

Joseph VARCOE

Regimental number2004
Place of birthHillston, New South Wales
SchoolHillston Public School, New South Wales
ReligionPresbyterian
OccupationFarmer
AddressGunbar, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation34
Next of kinFather, Joseph Roe Varcoe, 'Hopefield', Gunbar, New South Wales
Enlistment date1 February 1916
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name56th Battalion, 3rd Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/73/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A37 Barambah on 23 June 1916
Regimental number from Nominal Roll2004A
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll35th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 12 October 1917
Place of death or woundingPasschendaele, Ypres, Belgium
Age at death36
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 25), 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
126
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Joseph Row and Sarah Jane VARCOE, 'Wirringulk', Gunbar, New South Wales
Family/military connectionsSister: Sister Annie VARCOE, Australian Army Nursing Service, effective abroad (still overseas); Brother: 6170 Pte John Thomas VARCOE, 35th Bn, returned to Australia, 21 December 1917.
Other details

War service: Western Front

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

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