The AIF Project

Ernest James RICHARDSON

Regimental number2382
Place of birthBeechworth, Victoria
ReligionRoman Catholic
OccupationLabourer
AddressWodonga PO, Wodonga, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation23
Height5' 6.75"
Weight141 lbs
Next of kinFather, William Richardson, Wodonga, Victoria
Enlistment date22 August 1916
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll11 September 1916
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name38th Battalion, 4th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/55/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A17 Port Lincoln on 20 October 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll38th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 13 October 1917
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 25), 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
130
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Commemorated in Wodonga Cemetery, Victoria. Father: William RICHARDSON (d. 28 April 1932; bu. Wondonga Cemetery, Victoria)
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked from Melbourne, 20 October 1916; transferred to 'Willochra' at Sierra Leone, West Africa, 4 December 1916; disembarked Plymouth, England, 29 December 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 5 April 1917. Taken on strength, 38th Bn, 8 April 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 13 October 1917.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

Mother wrote to Base Records, 17 January 1918 (letter mistakenly dated 1917): 'I ould like to hear more about my dear son as he has caused me many a bitter tear, especially when he was my chief support. I suppose I will have to go into some home now; there is nothing else, only that.' Thereafter Mrs Richardson wrote frequently to Base Records, seeking further details of her son's death (although in a letter of 19 December 1921, she wrote: PS: I think sometimes he is not killed, he may be in one of the hospitals. I had a dream about him that he was in Melbourne'), adding in a letter of 20 September 1920: 'It is a great shame the way me and his poor old father is treated for he was our chief support. So please take notice of this as it costs too much to be continually writing to you ... '

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