The AIF Project

Richard Oliver SIBLY

Regimental number40
Place of birthSouth Melbourne, Victoria
OccupationCork Classer
Address6 Victoria Place, South Melbourne, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation23
Height5' 3.5"
Weight119 lbs
Next of kinElizabeth Sibly, 6 Victoria Place, South Melbourne, Victoria
Enlistment date16 July 1915
Rank on enlistmentSIG
Unit name29th Battalion, Headquarters, Signallers
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Vic, on board HMAT A11 Ascanius on 10 November 1915
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll29th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 26-27 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
Family/military connectionsBrother: 3447 Pte James Oliver SIBLY, 6th Bn, returned to Australia, 17 October 1916.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Disembarked Suez, 7 December 1915.

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 16 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, 23 June 1916.

Admitted to 5th Field Ambulance, 7 December 1916 (gonorrhoea), and transferred to 38th Casualty Clearing Station; to 1st Stationary Hospital, Rouen, 8 December 1916; to 51st General Hospital, Etaples, 11 December 1916; to 5th Australian Division Base Depot, 10 February 1917; rejoined unit, 22 February 1917.

Killed in action, 26/27 September 1917.

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

Mother made a Statutory Declaration, Victoria Barracks, Melbourne, 5 November 1920, to claim her son's medals: 'His Father James Oliver Sibly left me in South Melbourne, Victoria, and proceeded to Newcastle, New South Wales, over 27 years ago with the intention of obtaining work. I have not seen him since, but heard about 20 years ago that he was then in Newcastle. I have never been divorced nor legally separated from him. In view of his desertion of myself and family I consider that he is not a fit and proper person to hold the medals of our deceased son I I desire to add that I wrote to my husband about 20 years ago when I heard that he was at Newcastle. He answered my letter and stated that he did not intend to return to me. This is the only communication I have had from him since he deserted me.' Base Records awarded the medals to the Mother.

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