The AIF Project

Robert Henry CHURCH

Regimental number2595
Place of birthSt James, Victoria
ReligionChurch of England
AddressTungamah, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation23
Height5' 9.25"
Weight150 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs Mary Ann Church, Tungamah, Victoria
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date13 July 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name22nd Battalion, 6th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/39/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A38 Ulysses on 27 October 1915
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll7th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 4 October 1917
Age at death25
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
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Admitted to 1st Auxiliary Hospital, Heliopolis, 17 January 1916 (bronchitis); discharged to duty, 3 February 1916.

Taken on strength, 7th Bn, 24 February 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 26 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 31 March 1916.

Wounded in action, 23-25 July 1916 (shell shock); admitted to 11th General Hospital, Camiers, 27 July 1916; rejoined Bn, Belgium, 6 September 1916.

Admitted to 2nd Field Ambulance, 11 November 1916 (pyrexia, unknown origin); rejoined unit, France, 18 April 1917.

On leave to England, 24 August 1917; rejoined unit, 6 September 1917.

Killed in action, 4 October 1917.

Statement, Red Cross File No 0730803L, 3171 Pte P.J. MINOGUE, D Company, 7th Bn (patient, No 3 Canadian General Hospital, Boulogne), 6 December 1917: 'As [we] were waiting in shell holes for the "hop over" at Anzac Ridge, Ypres, the Germans put a barrage on us. All these three men [CHURCH, 4152 A. ALLAN; 3002 J. AKERS] were there at the time and were not seen again. When we went over we held our objective 1200 to 1500 yards ahead, so that they could possibly have been taken. I was on a burying party on the 8th and we buried a good many men and also saw fragments of several men. I think these three must have been blown to bits. Church was tall, dark, and we called him Bob.'

Second statement, 4021 Corporal W. WHITE, B Company, 7th Bn, 17 January 1918: 'Church was in B Coy. and was killed by a shell about 5.30. a.m. on Oct. 4th while we were waiting to go over the top. I was in the next shell hole. I McIntyre (Died of Wounds), M.J. Proud Killed and 4 others hit by same shell.'

Third statement, 3939 Pte F. SPICER, B Company, 7th Bn (patient, 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Dartford, England), 9 February 1918: 'I saw him killed at Passchendaele, we were lined up, waiting for the signal to attack, when the shell landed amongst us, and killed him instantly. He was very badly knocked about.'

Fourth statement, 2334 Sergeant J. CHARLVILLE, B Company, 7th Bn (patient, Horton County of London War Hospital, England), 6 August 1918: 'On Oct. 4/17 at 6 a.m. just when going over, a shell wiped out about half the Pltn. and Church and others were blown to pieces. I was about 20 yards off and saw it. I know he was among them, it was at Broodseinde Ridge.'

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, CHURCH Robert Henry
Red Cross File No 0730803L

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