The AIF Project

John William LAMBERT

Regimental number1857
Place of birthSheffield, England
SchoolSheffield Church School, England
Age on arrival in Australia23
ReligionChurch of England
AddressPerth, Western Australia
Marital statusMarried
Age at embarkation27
Height5' 7.5"
Weight120 lbs
Next of kinWife, Mrs Ethel May Lambert, 99 Onslow Road, West Subiaco, Western Australia
Previous military serviceNil (rejected 9 months previously for AIF enlistment on account of hammer toe)
Enlistment date7 March 1916
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll3 April 1916
Place of enlistmentPerth, Western Australia
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name44th Battalion, 2nd Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/61/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Fremantle, Western Australia, on board HMAT A28 Miltiades on 9 August 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll33rd Battalion
FateKilled in Action 7 June 1917
Place of death or woundingMessines, Belgium
Age at death28
Age at death from cemetery records28
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 23), 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: John and Elizabeth LAMBERT; husband of Ethel LAMBERT, 99 Onslow Road, West Subiaco, Western Australia. Native of England
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Fremantle, 7 August 1916; disembarked Plymouth, England, 25 September 1916; taken on strength, 11th Training Bn, 1 October 1916.

Proceeded to join 44th Bn, 11 November 1916.

Taken on strength, 33rd Bn, 14 November 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 21 November 1916.

Reported wounded in action, 7 June 1917.

Now, 27 July 1917, reported killed in action, 7 June 1917.

Statement, Red Cross File No 1540710, 1863A Pte J.R. LINEHAN, HQ Company, 33rd Bn (patient, Horton County of London Hospital, Epsom, England), 18 September 1917: I saw Lambert lying dead. He had been dead several days, It was daytime. I saw him at Ploegsteert. His body was just behind our first line. He had been killed by a shell. His body had been there for 2 days. It was June 9th. He was buried. Pte. Conway saw him too.'

Second statement, 1498 Lance Corporal L.V. SCHOLEY, 33rd Bn (patient, Edmonton Hospital, London, England), 22 October 1917: 'I know that during the attack of June 7th/17 between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. [w]e had reached our objective when Lambert was shot in the head by a machine gun bullet and killed instantly. He was carried back to the old German front line (our reserve line) that night. Next morning I went to see him and took all his belongings except his pay-book, and I sent them to his wife, all our casualties for that day were buried in Ploegsteerte (sic) Wood but our Padre does not remember burying Lambert.'

Third statement, 1917A Pte A. TOOVEY, HQ Company, 33rd Bn (patient, Red Cross Hospital, Weir, Balham, England), 31 October 1917: 'Pte. Lambert was killed by a shell and buried near the Front Lines. I saw him killed.'

Fourth statement, 1862 Pte A. LILLYWHITE, D Company, 33rd Bn, 10 November 1917: 'I saw him after he was killed at Messines about the 7th June. He had not reached the objective. It was somewhere just behind our consolidated line. He had been shot through the head. L/Cpl. Jess Bright (33rd Battalion, D Co ...) would know whether he is buried or not. I heard him say he was alongside Lambert when he was killed.'

Note on file: 'No trace Germany[.] Cert. by Capt. Mills. 10.10.19.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, LAMBERT John William
Red Cross File No 1540710

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