The AIF Project

Walter Albert ABBOTT

Regimental number3312
Place of birthBenalla, Victoria
SchoolBenalla and Lancefield State Schools, Victoria
AddressBrisbane, Queensland
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation25
Height6' 1"
Weight177 lbs
Next of kinFather, W Abbott, Sunshine, Victoria
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date22 July 1915
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll13 July 1915
Place of enlistmentBrisbane, Queensland
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name25th Battalion, 7th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/42/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Brisbane, Queensland, on board HMAT A50 Itonus on 30 December 1915
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll12th Machine Gun Company
Other details from Roll of Honour CircularOnly son of Walter Albert and Annie ABBOTT, of Sunshine, Victoria
FateKilled in Action 26 September 1917
Place of death or woundingPolygon Wood, Belgium
Age at death27.10
Age at death from cemetery records27
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.

Family/military connectionsCousin: 386 Pte George PLUNKETT, 16th Bn, killed in action, 1 July 1915.
Other details

War service: Western Front

Taken on strength, 47th Bn, Tel el Kebir, 9 March 1916.

Transferred to 12th Machine Gun Company, 25 March 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 2 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, 11 June 1916.

Admitted to hospital (influenza), France, 1 August 1916; rejoined unit, 6 August 1916.

Found guilty, 24 December 1916, of (1) being absent without leave from billets, 7.30am 21 December 1917 to 8.00am, 23 December 1916, and (2) removing public property (a bicycle) without permission: awarded 28 days Field Punishment No.1 and forfeits 3 days pay.

Admitted to 2nd Australian Casualty Clearing Station (venereal disease), France, 29 May 1917; transferred to 7th Convalescent Depot, Boulogne, 30 May 1917; transferred to 51st General Hospital, Etaples, 1 June 1917; discharged to base details, Etaples, 27 June 1917.

Marched into Machine Gun Brigade Depot, Camiers, 28 June 1917.

Rejoined 12th Machine Gun Company in the field, 24 September 1917.

Killed in action, Polygon Wood, Belgium, 26 September 1917.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, ABBOTT Walter Albert

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