The AIF Project

William BIRD

Regimental number31
Place of birthNorth Woolwich, England
SchoolCouncil School, North Woolwich, England
Age on arrival in Australia17
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationLabourer
AddressWhite Horse Hotel, Innisfail, Queensland
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation27
Next of kinFather, Edward Bird, 106 Jersey Road, Customs House, East London, England
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date17 February 1915
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll7 February 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name25th Battalion, A Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/42/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Brisbane, Queensland, on board HMAT A60 Aeneas on 29 June 1915
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll25th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 25 December 1917
Age at death29
Age at death from cemetery records22
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
103
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Edward and Ellen BIRD, 27 Custom Street, Customs House, London, England. Native of Barking, Essex, England
Other details

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

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