The AIF Project

Edmund WATT

Regimental number1863
Place of birthNorth Sydney, New South Wales
ReligionPresbyterian
OccupationTrade warehouseman
AddressHigh Street, Willoughby, Sydney, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation19
Height5' 4.5"
Weight124 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs Tessil Watt, High Street, Willoughby, Sydney, New South Wales
Previous military serviceServed in the Royal Australian Naval Reserve for 5 years (Compulsory Military Training scheme).
Enlistment date12 January 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name1st Battalion, 4th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/18/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A8 Argyllshire on 10 April 1915
Regimental number from Nominal RollCommissioned
Rank from Nominal RollLieutenant
Unit from Nominal Roll1st Machine Gun Battalion
FateKilled in Action 20 September 1917
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 31), 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
179
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Edmund Jessie WATT.
Medals

Croix de Guerre (France)


Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 189
Date: 8 November 1917

Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Joined 1st Bn at Gallipoli, 26 May 1915. Disembarked Alexandria, 28 December 1915 (general Gallipoli evacuation).

On Command, School of Instruction, Zeitoun, 10 January 1916; rejoined Bn, Tel el Kebir, 29 January 1916. Transferred to Brigade Machine Gun Company, 12 March 1916. Promoted Corporal, 12 March 1916.

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 22 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, 28 March 1916. Promoted Sergeant, 13 August 1916.

Posted to Officers' Training School, England, 20 December 1916; appointed 2nd Lt, 24 April 1917. Proceeded overseas to France, 7 May 1917; rejoined 1st Machine Gun Company, 22 May 1917.

Awarded French Croix de Guerre.

Promoted Lt, 18 August 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 20 September 1917.

Statement by 2353 Sergeant L.G. DAVISON: 'Lieut. E. WATT was killed by a shell wound at about 6 a.m. on the morning of 20th Sept. 1917. The piece of shell responsible for his death hitting him in the throat. Sgt. Mjr Kennedy and Sgt. afterwards Lieut. Rolston buried him in the same grave as Cpl Bullen who was killed with Lieut. Watt and a cross erected over the grave[;] the approximate position of the grave was about 600 yards to the left of Menin Road and about 500 yards to the rear of Glencorse Wood.'

Medals: Croix de Guerre, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

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