The AIF Project

William Buchan FOWLER

Regimental number1135
Place of birthRoxburgh, Scotland
Height5' 6"
Weight136 lbs
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll17 October 1914
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name1st Battalion, E Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/18/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board Transport A19 Afric on 18 October 1914
Rank from Nominal RollLance Corporal
Unit from Nominal Roll45th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 16 August 1917
Age at death from cemetery records40
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
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: James and Mary Buchan FOWLER; husband of Janet FOWLER, 137 Halliburton Road, Galashiels, Scotland. Native of Galashiels
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Embarked from Alexandria to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, Gallipoli, 5 April 1915. Wounded in action, 25-30 April 1915 (gun shot wound, foot); admitted to 15th General Hospital, Alexandria, 30 April 1915; transferred to Mustapha Convalescent Camp, 5 May 1915; discharged to duty, 22 June 1915; rejoined Bn at Gallipoli, 19 July 1915. Appointed Temporary Corporal, 7 November 1915. Admitted to 1st Casualty Clearing Station, 22 November 1915 (pyrexia), and reverted to Lance Corporal. Transferred to hospital ship, 23 November 1915; disembarked Malta, 29 November 1915,and admitted to St George's Hospital (enteric). Discharged to Egypt, 7 January 1916; embarked from Malta for invaliding to Australia.

Admitted to 2nd Auxiliary Convalescent Camp, Heliopolis, 11 January 1916; transferred to Australian and New Zealand Convalescent Camp, Helouan, 15 January 1916; discharged to Pilygon Block Rest Camp, 9 February 1916. Admitted to 2nd Auxiliary Hospital, Heliopolis, 16 February 1916 (enteric); transferred to 3rd Auxiliary Hospital, 11 March 1916; discharged to Overseas Base, 11 March 1916. Taken on strength, 45th Bn, 2 April 1916.

Admitted to 54th Casualty Clearing Station, Serapeum, 8 May 1916 (pleurisy); transferred to No. 1 Australian Stationary Hospital, Ismailia, 13 May 1916 (debility); to 3rd Auxiliary Hospital, Heliopolis, 17 May 1916; to Ras el Tin Convalescent Camp, Alexandria, 22 May 1916.

Embarked from Alexandria, 6 June 1916; disembarked Plymouth, England, 16 June 1916. Admitted to 1st Australian Dermatological Hospital, Bulford, 20 December 1916; discharged, 3 March 1917; total period of treatment for venereal disease: 74 days.

Proceeded overseas to France, 19 June 1917; joined 45th Bn, 9 July 1917.

Killed in action, 16 August 1917.

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

Base Records received a letter, dated 30 November 1915, from Mrs Janet. FOWLER, 137 Halliburton Street, Galashiels, Scotland, informing them that William FOWLER, her husband, had migrated to Australia five years previously, intending that his family should follow. He subsequently wrote cancelling travel arrangements. 'That isn't the first time he had done this as it happened; the same thing when he was in Canada. He has always been of a roving nature; he never was at home.' Following this correspondence, Mrs Fowler was recognised as next of kin.

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