Francis Oliver ALEXANDER

Regimental number5787
Place of birthWoodend, Victoria
Address848 Nicholson Street, North Fitzroy, Victoria
Marital statusMarried
Age at embarkation27
Height5' 7"
Weight140 lbs
Next of kinWife, Mrs Florence Alexander, 848 Nicholson Street, North Fitzroy, Victoria
Previous military serviceNil; Previously rejected as unfit for service (bad teeth)
Enlistment date17 January 1916
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll31 January 1916
Place of enlistmentMelbourne, Victoria
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name21st Battalion, 16th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/38/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A71 Nestor on 2 October 1916
Rank from Nominal RollCorporal
Unit from Nominal Roll21st Battalion
FateKilled in Action 4 October 1917
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
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Melbourne, 2 October 1916; disembarked Plymouth, England, 16 November 1916.

Attached, 7th Training Bn for signals instruction, Rollestone, 1 January 1917.

Appointed corporal, 24 January 1917.

Marched out to 6th Training Bn, Lark Hill, 2 April 1917.

Admitted to Military Hospital (sick), Tidworth, 28 May 1917; discharged to depot, Tidworth, 16 June 1917; rejoined 6th Training Bn from hospital, 18 June 1917.

Embarked Southampton to join British Expeditionary Force, France, 23 July 1917.

Taken on strength, 21st Bn, France, 9 August 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 4 October 1917.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, ALEXANDER Francis Oliver