The AIF Project

John Joseph CANTWELL

Regimental number368
Place of birthGeelong, Victoria
SchoolState School, Freshwater Creek, Victoria
ReligionRoman Catholic
AddressFresh Water Creek, Geelong, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation25
Next of kinJ Cantwell, Fresh Water Creek, Geelong, Victoria
Enlistment date24 August 1914
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name8th Battalion, C Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/25/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board Transport A24 Benalla on 19 October 1914
Rank from Nominal RollSergeant
Unit from Nominal Roll8th Battalion
Recommendations (Medals and Awards)

Military Medal

Splendid work in repelling counter-attacks and re-organising line, showing fine courage and setting splendid example to men. (8-9 May 1917)
Recommendation date: 17 May 1917

FateKilled in Action 25 October 1917
Place of death or woundingFrance
Age at death28
Age at death from cemetery records28
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
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: John and Alice CANTWELL, Archie's Creek,Victoria. Native of Geelong, Victoria

Military Medal

Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 189
Date: 8 November 1917

Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Embarked from Alexandria to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, Gallipoli, 5 April 1915. Appointed Lance Corporal and Acting Corporal, Lemnos, 19 October 1915; Temporary Corporal, 19 October 1915; reverted to Lance Corporal, 31 October 1915; appointed Temporary Corporal, 8 December 1915. Disembarked Alexandria, 7 January 1916 (general Gallipoli evacuation). Promoted Corporal, 26 February 1916.

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 26 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, 31 March 1916. Promoted Temporary Sergeant, 30 July 1916; Sergeant, 12 August 1916.

Transferred to 2nd Training Bn, Perham Downs, England, 13 May 1917. Admitted to Fargo Military Hospital, 11 June 1917 (influenza); discharged to duty. Awarded the Military Medal, 2 July 1917. Proceeded overseas to France, 2 October 1917; rejoined 8th Bn, 5 October 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 25 October 1917.

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

Print format    

© The AIF Project 2024, UNSW Canberra. Not to be reproduced without permission.