The AIF Project

William Anthony COLE

Regimental number5056
Place of birthKangaroo Point, Brisbane, Queensland
SchoolState School, Brisbane, Queensland
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationLabourer
Address98 Holman Street, Kangaroo Point, Brisbane, Queensland
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation19.5
Height5' 9"
Weight140 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs M Cole, 98 Holman Street, Kangaroo Point, Brisbane, Queensland
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date4 October 1915
Place of enlistmentBrisbane, Queensland
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name9th Battalion, 16th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/26/4
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A16 Star of Victoria on 31 March 1916
Rank from Nominal RollLance Corporal
Unit from Nominal Roll49th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 20 August 1917
Place of death or woundingKemel Hill, Belgium
Age at death21
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 29), 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
147
Family/military connectionsBrother: 4568 Pte George COLE, 26th Bn, killed in action, 3 May 1917.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Embarked Brisbane, 31 March 1916; disembarked Port Said, 5 May 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 7 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 14 June 1916.

Transferred to 49th Bn, 20 May 1916; taken on strength, 49th Bn, 13 August 1916.

Detached to Lewis Machine Gun School, 27 December 1916; rejoined Bn, 5 January 1917.

Detached to School of Instruction, 24 March 1917.

Appointed Lance Corporal, 15 June 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 20 August 1917.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, COLE William Anthony

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