The AIF Project

Henry Howard WHITFIELD

Regimental number6838
Place of birthNorwood South Australia
ReligionCS
OccupationAuctioneer
AddressMurrayville, Victoria
Marital statusMarried
Age at embarkation36
Next of kinWife, Mrs A Whitfield, Murrayville, Victoria
Enlistment date29 August 1916
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name5th Battalion, 22nd Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/22/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A38 Ulysses on 25 October 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll5th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 4 October 1917
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 7), 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
45
Medals

Military Medal

'During the operations east of YPRES ON 20/23rd September 1917, Pte. WHITFIELD displayed great courage and devotion to duty. During the 20th instant when Blue Line was being consolidated and the sending back of wounded to the rear was an impossibility, he went out under heavy artillery fire and attended to six men who were badly wounded and were lying in shell holes. He continued this work until the wounded could be taken to the rear.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 31
Date: 7 March 1918

Other details

War service: Western Front

Medals: Military Medal, British War Medal, Victory Medal

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