The AIF Project

Robert Henry FERGUSON

Regimental number2532
Place of birthBallarat, Victoria
ReligionPresbyterian
OccupationLabourer
AddressWallaroo, South Australia
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation27.9
Height5' 9.5"
Weight154 lbs
Next of kinFather, Robert Ferguson, c/o Bert Cook, Wood Merchant, Dorcas Street, South Melbourne, Victoria
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date31 March 1916
Place of enlistmentKadina, South Australia
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name48th Battalion, 5th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/65/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Adelaide, South Australia, on board HMAT A68 Anchises on 28 August 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll48th 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
145
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Adelaide, 28 August 1916; disembarked Plymouth, England, 11 October 1916; marched into 12th Training Bn, Codford, 12 October 1916.

Found guilty, 15 November 1916, of overstaying leave from midnight, 6 November, to 8.30 am, 8 November 1916: awarded 14 days' Field punishment No 2, and forfeited 22 days' pay.

Found guilty, 24 December 1916, of being in Bath City without a pass: awarded 7 days' Field Punishment No 2.

Found guilty, 2 February 1917, of neglecting to obey Routine Orders (out of bounds), 31 January 1917: awarded 7 days' Field Punishment No 2.

Found guilty, 19 March 1917, of breaking out of Isolation between the hours of 7 pm and 9 pm, 17 February 1917: awarded 7 days' Field Punishment No 2.

Proceeded overseas to France, 13 March 1917; taken on strength, 48th Bn, in the field, 6 April 1917.

Found guilty, 25 April 1917, of being absent without leave from 9 am, 25 April, to 6 pm, 25 April 1917: awarded forfeiture of 1 day's pay under Roal Warrant (only).

Found guilty, 14 May 1917, of being absent without leave from 9 am, 11 May, to 8 am, 14 May 1917: awarded 28 days' Field Punishment No 2, and forfeiture of 31 days' pay.

Posted absent without leave, 5 September 1917.

Found guilty, 11 September 1917, of being absent without leave from 7 am, 5 September, to 8.30 am, 5 September 1917: awarded 7 days' Field Punishment No 2, and forfeiture of 10 days' pay.

Killed in action, Belgium, 12 October 1917.

Note on Red Cross File: 'No trace Germany. Cert. by Capt. Mills 10-10-19.'

Statement, 3195 Pte G.P. STANLEY, D Company, 48th Bn (patient, Harborne Hall VAD Hospital, Birmingham), 16 January 1918: 'I knew Bob Ferguson he belonged to my D Coy. I was close to him on his left when he got hit through the hand by a sniper's shot when we were out on an attack to take the town of Passchendaele near Ypres on the 12/Oct/17. L/C Strugual [sic: STRUGNELL] took him to the dressing station when Ferguson got hit again on the way and was mortally wounded. The L/C. buried him there and took his pay-book. He lies buried to the right of the Rly. We got swept by machine gun fire that day. Fritx came along and drove us back. Our losses were very severe.'

Second statement, 2251 Sergeant J. STRUGNELL, 30 May 1918: Re 2532 Pte R.H. Ferguson, D Coy. 48th Battn., was killed in action on the 12-10-17 and as far as I know not buried by our own men. I was carrying him out of the line and a German sniper sniped him in the stomach. He was still lying where he fell when we had to evacuate the position. He may have been buried by the Germans, but I cannot say. He was fairly tall, about 5'8", fair, well built, blue eyes.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, FERGUSON Robert Henry
Red Cross File No 1050605H

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