The AIF Project

Francis Henry Colombo WHEELER

Regimental number1038
Place of birthDaylesford, Victoria
SchoolDaylesford State School, Victoria
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationStockman
AddressVictoria Street, Warragul, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation31
Next of kinFather, H S Wheeler, Victoria Street, Warragul, Victoria
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date19 February 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name17th Battalion, C Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/34/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A32 Themistocles on 12 May 1915
Rank from Nominal RollSergeant
Unit from Nominal Roll17th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 9 October 1917
Place of death or woundingPasschendaele, Ypres, Belgium
Age at death33
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 17), 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
84
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Henry Sheppard and Clara WHEELER.
Family/military connectionsBrothers: 2249 Pte Hector WHEELER, 22nd Bn, returned to Australia, 17 October 1916; 8071 Driver Norman Ralph WHEELER, 6th Field Artillery Brigade, returned to Australia, 27 April 1919.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

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

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