The AIF Project

John Joseph COLLINS

Regimental number4170
Place of birthMelbourne, Victoria
SchoolXavier College, Kew, Victoria
ReligionRoman Catholic
OccupationSalesman
Address206 Coppin Street, Richmond, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation28
Next of kinMother, Mrs C Collins, 206 Coppin Street, Richmond, Victoria
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date21 July 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name8th Battalion, 13th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/25/5
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A64 Demosthenes on 29 December 1915
Rank from Nominal RollSergeant
Unit from Nominal Roll8th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 21 June 1918
Place of death or woundingMenin Road, Polygon Wood, Belgium
Date of death20 September 1917
Age at death29
Age at death from cemetery records30
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, 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
52
Family/military connectionsBrother: 17336 Pte Matthew Joseph COLLINS, 2nd Field Ambulance, returned to Australia, 20 June 1919.
Other details

War service: Western Front

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

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