The AIF Project

Percy FIRTH

Regimental number2996
Place of birthGreymouth, New Zealand
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationCarpenter
Address91 Newland Street, Waverley, Sydney, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation28
Next of kinMother, Mrs Minnie Firth, 22A Cottleville Terrace, Wellington, New Zealand
Previous military serviceServed for 7 years in the 3rd Wellington Bn, Napier, New Zealand (time expired).
Enlistment date16 September 1915
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll22 July 1915
Place of enlistmentSydney, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentSapper
Unit name7th Field Company Engineers
AWM Embarkation Roll number14/26/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A23 Suffolk on 30 November 1915
Regimental number from Nominal Roll2796
FateKilled in Action 20 September 1917
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 7), 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
23
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 14 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, 19 March 1916.

Admitted to 1st Canadian Casualty Clearing Station, 8 July 1916 (influenza); transferred to England, 20 July 1916, and admitted to Brook War Hospital, Woolwich (pyelitis, mild). Reported to No. 1 Command Depot from furlough, 12 September 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 4 March 1917. transferred to 2nd Divisional Engineers, 14 March 1917. Admitted to 39th General Hospital, Havre, 23 May 1917; discharged to duty, 26 June 1917; total period of treatment for venereal disease: 35 days. Rejoined unit, 6 May 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 20 September 1917. Buried in an isolated grave, south of Westhoek Village, bottom of hill, 3 miles east of Ypres, Belgium.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

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