The AIF Project

Ashley McDonald FORBES

Regimental number2657
Place of birthWarrnambool, Victoria
ReligionPresbyterian
OccupationHewer
Marital statusMarried
Age at embarkation33
Height5' 7.5"
Weight152 lbs
Next of kinWife, Mrs Olive Blanch Forbes, Nannup, Western Australia
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date17 May 1916
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll17 May 1916
Place of enlistmentBunbury, Western Australia
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name48th Battalion, 6th Reinforcement
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Fremantle, Western Australia, on board HMAT Port Melbourne on 30 October 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.

Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Fremantle, 30 October 1916; disembarked Devonport, England, 28 December 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 4 February 1917; taken on strength, 48th Bn, in the field, 10 February 1917.

Reported missing in action, 12 October 1917; Court of Inquiry, 8 April 1918, concluded: 'Killed in action, 12 October 1917.'

Note on Red Cross File No 1080805M: 'No trace Germany. Cert. by Capt. Mills 10-10-19.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, FORBES Ashley McDonald
Red Cross File No 1080805M

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