The AIF Project

James RILEY

Regimental number2046
Place of birthSydney, New South Wales
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationLabourer
AddressSydney, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation28
Next of kinFather, James Riley (address unknown)
Enlistment date17 February 1916
Place of enlistmentCootamundra, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name56th Battalion, 3rd Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/73/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A37 Barambah on 23 June 1916
Miscellaneous details (Nominal Roll)Name does not appear on Nominal Roll
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 29), 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.

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