The AIF Project

Norbert Joseph BYRNES

Regimental number2966
Date of birth23 July 1878
Place of birthHawkesbury River District, New South Wales
ReligionRoman Catholic
OccupationLabourer
AddressBrisbane, Queensland
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation38
Next of kinBrother, Arthur James Byrnes, Bank Street, Wollongong, New South Wales
Enlistment date7 October 1916
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name47th Battalion, 7th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/64/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Brisbane, Queensland, on board HMAT A74 Marathon on 27 October 1916
Regimental number from Nominal Roll2966A
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll47th Battalion
Other details from Roll of Honour CircularEnlisted 7 October 1916 - 47th Bn, 7th Reinforcements. Taken on strength, 17th Bn, 7 April 1917.
FateKilled in Action 9 August 1917
Place of death or woundingMessines, Belgium
Age at death39
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 27), 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
143
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Richard and Mary Ann (nee CRUMPTON) BYRNES
Family/military connectionsBrother: 38326 Gunner Richard Percy BYRNES, 3rd Divisional Ammunition Column, returned to Australia, 6 September 1919.
Other details

War service: Western Front

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

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