The AIF Project

Robert William BOWDEN

Regimental number2283
Place of birthWalcha, New South Wales
SchoolYarrowitch Public School, New South Wales
ReligionChurch of England
AddressThe Nobs, Yarrowitch via Walcha, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation19
Height5' 11.5"
Weight152 lbs
Next of kinFather, Frederick Bowden, The Nobs, Yarrowitch via Walcha, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date1 May 1916
Place of enlistmentArmidale, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name33rd Battalion, 4th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/50/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A30 Borda on 17 October 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll33rd Battalion
FateKilled in Action 7 June 1917
Place of death or woundingMessines, Belgium
Age at death20.8
Age at death from cemetery records20
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
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Frederick and the late Sarah BOWDEN, Yarrowitch, New South Wales
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Sydney, 17 October 1916; found guilty, at sea, 28 November 1916, of when on Active Service (1) failing to appear at a place of rendezvous appointed by his CO; (2) being absent without leave from 8 pm until arrested by Guard: awarded 24 hours' detention; admitted to ship's hospital, 16 November 1916 (mumps); discharged from ship's hospital, 21 November 1916; disembarked Plymouth, England, 9 January 1917; marched in to 9th Training Bn, Durrington, 12 January 1917.

Proceeded overseas to France, 13 March 1917; taken on strength, 33rd Bn, in the field, 19 March 1917.

Killed in action, 7 June 1917.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, BOWDEN Robert William

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