The AIF Project

Ernest John COLES

Regimental number1805
Place of birthYork, Western Australia
SchoolMundigong State School, Western Australia
OccupationFarm hand
AddressBlackboy Hill, Western Australia
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation22
Height5' 7.5"
Weight146 lbs
Next of kinFather, Jesse Coles, Mundijong, Western Australia
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date27 April 1916
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll24 June 1916
Place of enlistmentBlackboy Hill, Western Australia
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name44th Battalion, 2nd Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/61/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Fremantle, Western Australia, on board HMAT A28 Miltiades on 9 August 1916
Regimental number from Nominal Roll1805A
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll33rd Battalion
FateKilled in Action 7 June 1917
Place of death or woundingMessines, Belgium
Age at death22
Age at death from cemetery records22
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 23), 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: Jessie and Ann COLES, 71 Amherst Road, West Midland, Western Australia. Native of York, Western Australia
Family/military connectionsNil
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Fremantle, 7 August 1916; disembarked Plymouth, England, 25 September 1916; taken on strength, 11th Training Bn, 1 October 1916.

Proceeded to join 44th Bn, 12 November 1916.

Taken on strength, 33rd Bn, 14 November 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 21 November 1916.

Killed in action, 7 June 1917.

Handwritten notation on Form B103: 'Buried'.

Second handwritten notation on handwritten Form B103: 'Extract from Burial Report from XXII Corps Burial Officer dated 15-2-18:-Buried at sh 28 S.W. U.3. d.2.4. (AT. 19796)'.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, COLES Ernest John

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