The AIF Project

John Patrick RYAN

Regimental number2412
Place of birthSingleton New South Wales
ReligionRoman Catholic
OccupationGrocer
AddressSingleton, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation21
Next of kinFather, J.W. Ryan, Church Street, Singleton, New South Wales
Previous military service14th Infantry
Enlistment date3 September 1915
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll20 September 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name31st Battalion, 4th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/48/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A68 Anchises on 14 March 1916
Rank from Nominal RollSergeant
Unit from Nominal Roll31st Battalion
Recommendations (Medals and Awards)

Military Medal


Recommendation date: 2 October 1917

FateKilled in Action 26 September 1917
Date of death10 October 1917
Age at death from cemetery records23
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
117
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: John and Kate RYAN, 'Iona', Singleton, New South Wales
Medals

Military Medal

'At POLYGON WOOD on 26/28th September 1917, the excellent dash, judgment and initiative displayed by this N.C.O. were remarkable. On one occasion when a counter attack was commencing and no Lewis Gunners were available to work the gun, L/Sergeant Ryan seized a gun that was lying in the trench and kept in action until the enemy had been dispersed. Nothing was too dangerous for him to undertake and his personal bravery inspired the men to an enormous extent.'

Family/military connectionsBrother: 6829 Pte Kevin RYAN, 1st Bn, returned to Australia, 9 December 1918.
Other details

War service: Western Front

Medals: Military Medal, British War Medal, Victory Medal

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