The AIF Project

George Robert AITKEN

Regimental number2367
Place of birthTaroom, Queensland
ReligionChurch of England
AddressEidsvold, Queensland
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation22
Height5' 6"
Weight144 lbs
Next of kinFather, Richard Aitken, Cania Diggings, Eidsvold, Queensland
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date5 April 1916
Place of enlistmentCloncurry, Queensland
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name52nd Battalion, 5th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/69/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Brisbane, Queensland, on board HMAT A49 Seang Choon on 19 September 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll52nd Battalion
FateKilled in Action 19 October 1917
Age at death23
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 29), 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
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Brisbane, 19 September 1916; disembarked Plymouth, England, 9 December 1916.

Found guilty, 25 January 1917, of (1) disobeying an order given by a superior officer and (2) striking an NCO, Codford, 13 January 1917: sentenced to imprisonment with hard labour for 2 years; sentence commuted to 1 year detention and forfeiture of 377 days' pay.

Sentence remitted by Order of the War Office, 21 June 1917.

Embarked Folkestone to join the British Expeditionary Force, France, 2 July 1917; marched in, 4th Australian Divisional Base Depot, Havre, 3 July 1917.

Taken on strength, 52nd Bn, in the field, 22 July 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 19 October 1917.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, AITKEN George Robert

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