The AIF Project

Patrick Conrad WHELAN

Regimental number1430
Place of birthRivertown, New Zealand
ReligionRoman Catholic
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation31
Height5' 10.25"
Weight158 lbs
Next of kinBrother, Denis Whelan, Orepuke, New Zealand
Enlistment date12 November 1914
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name12th Battalion, 2nd Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/29/2
Rank from Nominal RollCorporal
Unit from Nominal Roll12th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 6 October 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.

Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Taken on strength, 12th Bn, Gallipoli, 7 May 1915. Wounded in action , 7 August 1915 (bullet wound, buttock), and admitted to 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station; to 1st Australian General Hospital, Heliopolis, 10 August 1915; to 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital, 10 August 1915; rejoined Bn at Gallipoli, 25 October 1915. Disembarked Alexandria, 6 January 1916 (general Gallipoli evacuation).

Admitted to 2nd Australian Field Ambulance, Serapeum, 20 February 1916 (jaundice); transferred to 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station, 24 February 1916; to 1st Australian Stationary Hospital, Ismailia, 24 February 1916; discharged to duty, 4 March 1916; rejoined 12th Bn, 11 March 1916.

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 29 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, 5 April 1916. Appointed Lance Corporal, 20 May 1916.

Wounded in action, 24 July 1916 (gun shot wound, right knee); admitted to 3rd Casualty Clearing Station, 25 July 1916; transferred by ambulance train to 13th Stationary Hospital, Boulogne, 26 July 1916; to England, 2 August 1916, and admitted to Middlesex War Hospital, Napsbury, 2 August 1916; to 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Harefield, 1 September 1916. Discharged to No. 2 Command Depot, Perham Downs, 20 September 1916. Proceeded overseas to France, 24 January 1917; rejoined 12th Bn, 7 February 1917.

Admitted to 1st Australian Field Ambulance, 19 February 1917 (septic toe, right foot); transferred to 3rd Australian Field Ambulance, 19 February 1917; discharged to unit, 3 March 1917; rejoined unit, 4 March 1917.

Admitted to 3rd Australian Field Ambulance, 24 March 1917 (trench feet); transferred to 1/1st Midlands Casualty Clearing Station, 25 March 1917; to 9th General Hospital, Rouen, 28 March 1917; to England, 29 March 1917, and admitted to Southwark Military Hospital, 30 March 1917; discharged on furlough, 10 May 1917; marched in to No. 1 Command Depot, Perham Downs, 5 June 1917. Proceeded overseas to France, 16 July 1917; rejoined 12th Bn, 4 August 1917.

Detached to 3rd Brigade's NCOs' School, 11 August 1917; rejoined Bn, 10 September 1917. Promoted Corporal, 28 September 1917.

Missing in action, 6 October 1917; confirmed killed in action, by Court of Enquiry (date of Enquiry not recorded). Statement by 2405 Pte L. BOSWORTH, 26 March 1918: 'I knew Whelan, but know nothing of his fate, only that I heard from some chums of his who [sic] names I don't know, that he was killed at Ypres on about the 6th October 1917.'

Statement, Red Cross File No 2910903O, 2581 Pte T.H. COWDEROY, 12th Bn, 26 November 1917: 'We were in Polygon Wood on Oct. 6th. Lt Hale was up in the trench leading a party over when he was struck by a shell and wounded in the breast and he died a few hours later. I saw this myself, and helped to bury him 300 yards the other side of Zonnebeke Gasometer. We went out of the line. On Nov 3rd we took a cross up and the Adjutant and an Intelligence officer were there, when we arrived on the grave we found that the body had been blown out and also those of two soldiers. The two officers and the party buried all three again and put up a cross for Lt Hale and the two soldiers. Privates Lewis [6758 J.H. LEWIS] and Whelan were the two soldiers in question. I do not know how they were killed, but these two names were on the cross above referred to, which was erected on the grave.'

Second statement, 134 Sergeant Major F.H. RIPPER, D Company, 12th Bn, 7 December 1917: 'He was believed to be buried by a shell at Broodseinde Ridge, while we were holding the line on 6th. Oct. Lt. Priddy and I went out to look for him. We dug up three bodies but could find no trace of his. We knew he had been on this position just before the shell came over. He must have been blown to bits.'

Third statement, 79 Driver C.J. CONRAD, 12th Bn (patient, No 2 Australian General Hospital, Boulogne), 8 January 1918: 'I was told he got blown up by shell in the third stunt at Ypres. I did not see it but a friend of his, QMS Jack Graves of D. Coy. with them at present, told me when we came out of the line two or three days after at Scottish Lines. The QMS said "I saw poor old Paddy got knocked." He was either an original man or came with the first reinf. Was at Gallipoli. I think his home was in Tasmania. He was a big man, nearly 6ft, slightly grey, moustache, sharp featured, about 40. Wounded twice before, once at Bullecourt. Came to France in April 1916.'

Fourth statement, 2405 Pte L. BOSWORTH, 12th Bn (patient, 55th General Hospital, Boulogne), 12 January 1918: 'Whelan was in D.XVI - the only one in the Battn of that name as far as I know. We used to call him Paddy. On Oct 6th we were holding the line on the right of Polygon Wood. Platoons XIII and XVI had been put together, and we were in a bit of a trench in front of the front line - a sort of advanced post in case of counter attacks. Fritz began shelling and lobbed one into our trench and got Whelan and three or four others. I saw Whelan after he was killed. We had to get out of the trench then. The shelling went on and he may have been hit and buried. This Whelan was a corporal when killed - a big dark man of about 25. He was a pretty old hand, and I think his number would be about that in the list. Also I recognose his initials P.C.'

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, WHELAN Patrick Conrad
Red Cross File No 2910903O

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