The AIF Project

Thomas RITCH

Regimental number2413
Place of birthBroken Hill, New South Wales
Addressc/o Mrs R Ferguson, Argent Street, Broken Hill, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation20
Height5' 7.5"
Weight145 lbs
Next of kinSister, Miss Elizabeth Ritch, c/o Mrs R Ferguson, Argent Street, Broken Hill, New South Wales
Previous military serviceServed for 1 year in the Senior Cadets (81st Bn); for 2 years in the Barrier Infantry, Citizen Military Forces (still serving at time of AIF enlistment).
Enlistment date21 June 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name27th Battalion, 5th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/44/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Adelaide, South Australia, on board HMAT A32 Themistocles on 13 October 1915
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll27th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 25 September 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: Egypt, Western Front

Taken on strength, 27th Bn, Tel el Kebir, 12 January 1916. Admitted to 7th Field Ambulance, 27 January 1916 (pyrexia, unknown origin); rejoined Bn, 31 January 1916.

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 15 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, 21 March 1916. Found guilty of being absent from 7 pm parade: awarded 4 days' Field Punishment No. 2.

Admitted to 2nd Division Rest Station, 7 October 1916; transferred to 10th Casualty Clearing Station, 11 October 1916 (gastric influenza); transferred to 3rd Canadian General Hospital, Boulogne, 12 October 1916; to 14th Stationary Hospital, 26 October 1916 (enteric); to 1st Convalescent Depot, 4 November 1916 (influenza); discharged to 2nd Australian Division Base Depot, 11 November 1916. Rejoined Bn, 16 November 1916.

On leave to England, 25 July 1916; rejoined Bn from leave, 3 August 1917.

Killed in action, 20 September 1917. Buried south of Plank Road, leading to Westhoek Ridge, 3 miles due E. of Ypres.

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

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