The AIF Project

William Gladstone AITCHESON

Regimental number5977
Place of birthGladstone, Queensland
ReligionRoman Catholic
OccupationLabourer
AddressProserpine, Queensland
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation20
Height5' 5"
Weight130 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs F. Aitcheson, Proserpine, Queensland
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date14 February 1916
Place of enlistmentTownsville, Queensland
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name9th Battalion, 19th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/26/4
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Brisbane, Queensland, on board HMAT A50 Itonus on 8 August 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll9th Battalion
Other details from Roll of Honour CircularEnlisted 14 February 1916. Taken on strength, 9th Battalion, 18 April 1917.
FateKilled in Action 8 October 1917
Place of death or woundingThird Battle of Ypres, Belgium
Date of death8 October 1917
Age at death21
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 17), 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
54
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Brisbane, 8 August 1916.

Found guilty, 24 August 1916, of disobeying orders by leaving the ship without permission in Fremantle: awarded 8 days detention.

Disembarked, Britain, 18 October 1916.

Marched in, 3rd Training Bn, from Fovant Camp, 10 December 1916.

Admitted to hospital (sick), England, 23 December 1916; rejoined 3rd Training Bn from hospital, 10 January 1917.

Embarked to join the British Expeditionary Force, France, 10 April 1917; marched in, 1st Australian Divisional Base, Etaples, 11 April 1917.

Taken on strength, 9th Bn, France, 18 April 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 8 October 1917.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, AITCHESON William Gladstone

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