The AIF Project

William Alexandria FITCH

Regimental number453
Place of birthCamberwell, Victoria
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationFarmer
AddressDarbalara East, Gundagai, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation26
Next of kinMother, Mrs Mary Rosabell Fitch, 8 Nelgarde Road, Catford, London, England
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date6 February 1916
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll20 January 1916
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name36th Battalion, B Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/53/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A72 Beltana on 13 May 1916
Rank from Nominal RollDriver
Unit from Nominal Roll36th Battalion
Other details from Roll of Honour CircularAttestation Form states place of birth as Gundagai, New South Wales.
FateKilled in Action 14 October 1917
Place of death or woundingMenin Road, Ypres, Belgium
Age at death27
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
126
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Arthur and Mary Rozabelle FITCH, 8 Nelgarde Road, Catford, London, England
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Sydney, 13 May 1916; disembarked Devonport, England, 9 July 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 22 November 1916. Appointed Driver to complete establishment, 1 March 1917.

Killed in action, 14 October 1917.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

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