The AIF Project

Vincent Brown WILKINSON

Regimental number1434
Place of birthTeralba, New South Wales
OccupationEngineer
AddressDudley, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation18
Height5' 7.25"
Weight140 lbs
Next of kinFather, Mr Wilkinson, Public School, Dudley, New South Wales
Previous military serviceServed in the Senior Cadets for 3 years.
Enlistment date27 January 1916
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name34th Battalion, B Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/51/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A20 Hororata on 2 May 1916
Rank from Nominal RollCorporal
Unit from Nominal Roll34th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 14 October 1917
Age at death from cemetery records20
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
124
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Henry and Sarah Jane (nee BROWN) WILKINSON, Dudley, New South Wales. Native of Teralba, New South Wales
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked from Sydney, 2 May 1916; disembarked Plymouth, England, 23 June 1916. Appointed Lance Corporal, 1 July 1916. Proceeded overseas to France, 21 November 1916.

Admitted to 11th Field Ambulance, 10 January 1917 (myalgia); transferred to Divisional Rest Station, 10 January 1917; discharged to duty, 10 January 1917.

Promoted Corporal, 20 June 1917. On leave to Paris, 22 July 1917; rejoined Bn from leave, 3 August 1917.

Awarded Military Medal, 21 August 1917.

Detached to Bath. Picquet, 14 September 1917; rejoined Bn from detachment, 23 September 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 14 October 1917.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

Father wrote to Captain W. Mackintosh, 22 March 1918: 'May I ask you to accept and to convey to the Honourable The Minister our heartfelt thanks for your and his kind words of appreciation of our dear lad the late No. 1434 Corporal V.B. Wilkinson. The poignancy of our grief is assuaged by the knowledge that he died doing his duty. Brigadier-General Jobson wrote inter alia "His record is one of which you have every right to be proud, for he was not only a soldier, but a man in every sense." His immediate officer wrote: "Absolutely without fear. His only thought was his duty - duty to God and his duty [to] the King." Pardon my disgression, but your kind words alleviate to a degree the pain we feel but cannot all express.'

Print format