The AIF Project

James Wesley COOK

Regimental number1206
Place of birthStewart's Point, New South Wales
ReligionMethodist
OccupationLabourer
AddressMacksville, Nambucca River, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation19
Next of kinFather, P Cook, Macksville, Nambucca River, New South Wales
Enlistment date23 May 1916
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit nameLight Trench Mortar Battery, Reinforcement 2
AWM Embarkation Roll number13/130/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A40 Ceramic on 7 October 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll13th Battalion
Other details from Roll of Honour CircularEnlisted 23 May 1916 - LTM Bty 2nd Reinforcements; taken on strength 13th Bn, 7 May 1917.
FateKilled in Action 16 June 1917
Place of death or woundingMessines, Belgium
Age at death20
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 17), 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
68
Family/military connectionsBrothers: 3732 Pte Silas Henry COOK, 1st Machine Gun Bn, returned to Australia, 12 June 1919; 3733 Pte George Magmus COOK, 1st Bn, returned to Australia, 12 May 1919.
Other details

War service: Western Front

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

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