The AIF Project

William John BELL

Regimental number1667
Place of birthStawell, Victoria
SchoolState School, Stawell, Victoria
ReligionChurch of England
AddressCooper Street, Stawell West, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation23
Next of kinMother, Mrs Mary Ann Bell, Cooper Street, Stawell West, Victoria
Enlistment date20 April 1915
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll20 April 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name21st Battalion, 2nd Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/38/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A64 Demosthenes on 16 July 1915
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll2nd Machine Gun Battalion
FateKilled in Action 9 October 1917
Place of death or woundingPasschendaele, Ypres, Belgium
Age at death23.11
Age at death from cemetery records25
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 31), 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
177
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: John and Mary Ann BELL, Cooper Street, Stawell West, Victoria
Other details

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

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