The AIF Project

Robert Colin WATSON

Regimental number3642
Place of birthDubbo, New South Wales
AddressAshley Street, Hornsby, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation25
Height5' 10"
Weight144 lbs
Next of kinFather, R Watson, Ashley Street, Hornsby, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date26 August 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name17th Battalion, 8th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/34/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A60 Aeneas on 20 December 1915
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll20th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 20 September 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
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 21 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, 27 March 1916. Taken on strength, 20th Bn, 16 May 1916.

Wounded in action, 29 July 1916 (abrasions, face and neck); admitted to 3rd Casualty Clearing Station, 30 July 1916 (shell shock); to 13th General Hospital, Boulogne, 31 July 1916; to 1st Convalescent Depot, 2 August 1916; to 2nd Australian Division Base Depot, Etaples, 13 August 1916. Found guilty, 12 October 1917, of being absent without leave from parade: awarded 7 days confined to camp. Found guilty, 2 January 1917, of creating a disturbance at the Sergeants' Mess: awarded 14 days confined to camp. Rejoined 20th Bn, 28 February 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 20 September 1917.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

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