The AIF Project

Robert Steele WHITE

Regimental number5775
Place of birthBelfast, Co Antrim, Ireland
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationMarine steward
AddressWwenhoe, Francis Street, Yarraville, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation21
Height5' 6.75"
Weight128 lbs
Next of kinSister, Mrs A Ridd, 17 Midmore Street, Balmain, London, England
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date25 February 1916
Place of enlistmentMelbourne, Victoria
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name7th Battalion, 18th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/24/4
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A33 Ayrshire on 3 July 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll7th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 20 September 1917
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 7), 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
52
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked, Melbourne, 3 July 1916; disembarked, Plymouth, England, 2 September 1916; marched into 2nd Training Bn, Perham Downs, 2 September 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 22 October 1916; marched into 1st Australian Divisional Base Depot, Etaples, France, 23 October 1916; taken on strength of 7th Bn, 10 November 1916.

Reported missing in action, Belgium, 20 September 1917, court of enquiry, 24 June 1918, confirmed fate as killed in action, Belgium, 20 September 1917.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, WHITE Robert Steele

Print format