The AIF Project

Nathaniel John WILES

Regimental number7082
Date of birth19 January 1887
Place of birthSydney, New South Wales
SchoolBerowra and Hornsby Public Schools, New South Wales
Other trainingRabbit catcher
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationLabourer
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation26
Height5' 4.5"
Weight121 lbs
Next of kinFather, J. Wiles, Argyle Street, Moss Vale, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date27 October 1916
Place of enlistmentAlbury, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name3rd Battalion, 23rd Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/20/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A24 Benalla on 9 November 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll3rd Battalion
FateKilled in Action 21 September 1917
Age at death from cemetery records26
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, 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
39
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: James and Caroline WILES, 1088 Rocky Point Road, Ramsgate, Kogarah, New South Wales
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Sydney, 9 November 1916; disembarked Devonport, England, 9 January 1917.

Proceeded overseas to France from 1st Training Bn, Larkhill, 3 May 1917; taken on strength, 3rd Bn, in the field, 21 May 1917.

Admitted to 3rd Field Ambulance, 20 June 1917 (albuminuria), and transferred to 1st Divisional Rest Station; rejoined Bn, in the field, 6 July 1917.

Wounded in action, Belgium, 21 September 1917.

Previously reported Wounded in action, now, 16 November 1917, reported Wounded and Missing.Fatre subsequently ruled as 'Killed in Action, 21 September 1917'.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

Father uncontactable; medals allotted to mother.

Mother chose as inscription on a headstone: 'Just when his life was brightest/Just when his hopes were best/His country called and he answered/now somewhere in Belgium he rests.' Base Records pointed out, 9 March 1922, that the inscription the maximum of 66 letters, including spaces. The inscription was subsequently amended to include only the last line. When no grave could be found, the proposed inscription was rendered redundant because there was no headstone.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, WILES Nathaniel John
Red Cross File no 2940709V

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