The AIF Project

Ernest Alfred WILLIAMS

Regimental number1016
Place of birthBendigo, Victoria
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationFarm labourer
AddressGlengarry, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation26
Height5' 6.5"
Weight160 lbs
Next of kinFriend, G Waltham, Glengarry, Victoria
Previous military serviceServed in the 92nd infantry, Citizen Military Forces.
Enlistment date14 March 1916
Place of enlistmentSale, Victoria
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name39th Battalion, C Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/56/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A11 Ascanius on 27 May 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll10th Training Battalion
FateKilled in Action 12 October 1917
Age at death from cemetery records27
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 25), 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
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Native of Bendigo, Victoria
Discharge date26 September 1919
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Melbourne, 30 September 1916; disembarked Devonport, England, 21 November 1916. Marched in to 3rd Training Bn, Perham Downs, 22 November 1916.

Admitted to Fargo Military Hospital, 24 December 1916 (pyrexia unknown origin); transferred to Military Hospital, Tidworth, 2 January 1917 (contact meningitis); marched in to 3rd Training Bn from hospital, 11 January 1917.

Admitted to Fargo Military Hospital, 13 April 1917 (pyrexia unknown origin); discharged to duty, 23 April 1917; marched in to 3rd Training Bn, 16 May 1917.

Qualified as 1st Class Signaller at Class Test of Signal Group Headquarters, 6 June 1917.

Proceeded overseas to France, 18 October 1917; taken on strength, 12th Bn, 10 November 1917.

Admitted to hospital, 19 November 1918; rejoined unit, 27 January 1919 (no further details recorded).

On leave to United Kingdom, 8 December 1918; rejoined unit from leave, 30 December 1918.

Marched out to England for return to Australia, 27 March 1919.

Commenced return to Australia on board HT 'Ormonde', 16 June 1919; disembarked Melbourne, 1 August 1919; discharged, Hobart, 26 September 1919.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

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