The AIF Project

William Alfred John FENSOM

Regimental number1896
Place of birthSouth Brisbane, Queensland
ReligionMethodist
OccupationClerk
AddressWynnum, Queensland
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation19
Height5' 6.5"
Weight120 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs Ruth Fensom, Wynnum, Queensland
Previous military serviceServed for 4.5 years in 9th Infantry, Senior Cadets, Compulsory Military Training scheme.
Enlistment date11 January 1916
Place of enlistmentBrisbane, Queensland
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name47th Battalion, 3rd Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/64/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Brisbane, Queensland, on board HMAT A46 Clan Macgillivray on 1 May 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll47th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 12 October 1917
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
143
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Embarked Alexandria, 6 August 1916.

Joined 12th Bn, England, 20 August 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 30 September 1916; joined 4th Division Base Depot, Etaples, 1 October 1916, and reverted to Pte.

Taken on strength, 47th Bn, in the field, 17 October 1916.

Admitted to 39th Casualty Clearing Station, 7 November 1916 (mumps); transferred to 25th General Hospital, Rouen, 7 November 1916; discharged to No 2 Convalescent Depot, Rouen, 1 December 1916; to Base Depot, Etaples, 5 December 1916.

Admitted to 26th General Hospital, 19 December 1916 (laryngitis); discharged to No 6 Convalescent Depot, 8 January 1917; to 5th Convalescent Depot, Cayeux, 10 January 1917; to Base Depot, Etaples, 17 February 1917; rejoined Bn, in the field, 26 February 1917.

Admitted to 56th Casualty Clearing Station, 21 April 1917 (trench feet); transferred to 5th General Hospital, Rouen, 23 April 1917; to England, 28 April 1917, and admitted to 1st London General Hospital, Camberwell, 29 April 1917; discharged on furlough, 5 June 1917, to report to No 4 Command Depot, Wareham, 21 June 1917.

Marched out to Overseas Training Bn, Perham Downs, 17 August 1917.

Proceeded overseas to France, 5 September 1917; rejoined 47th Bn, in the field, Belgium, 16 September 1917.

Reported missing in action, Belgium, 13 October 1917.

Court of Enquiry, 11 March 1918, concluded: 'Killed in action, 12 October 1917'.

Buried 1000 yards SW of Passchendaele and 1000 yards NE of Zonnebeke; grave subsequently lost.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, FENSOM William Alfred John

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