The AIF Project

Charles FAIRLESS

Regimental number4183
Place of birthStockton, Newcastle, New South Wales
SchoolStockton Public School, New South Wales
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationFitter
AddressForfar Street, Stockton, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation18
Next of kinFather, J Fairless, Forfar Street, Stockton, New South Wales
Previous military serviceServed in the Royal Australian Naval Reserve for 4 years.
Enlistment date31 July 1915
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll3 August 1915
Place of enlistmentNewcastle, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name13th Battalion, 13th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/30/4
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A60 Aeneas on 20 December 1915
Rank from Nominal RollCorporal
Unit from Nominal Roll45th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 7 June 1917
Place of death or woundingMessines, Belgium
Age at death20
Age at death from cemetery records20
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 27), 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
139
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: John Joseph and Mary A. FAIRLESS, Forfar Street, Stockton, New South Wales
Family/military connectionsCousin: 1709 Corporal Thomas Arthur DAVIES, 35th Bn, returned to Australia, 29 September 1919.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Taken on strength, 45th Bn, Zeitoun, Egypt, 6 March 1916.

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 2 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 8 June 1916.

Appointed Lance Corporal, 10 August 1916; Temporary Corporal, 31 December 1916; Corporal, 4 February 1917.

Reported as missing in action, 7 June 1917; determined to have been killed in action, Belgium, 7 June 1917.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, FAIRLESS Charles
Red Cross File No 10307071

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