The AIF Project


Regimental number41
Place of birthForbes River, New South Wales
ReligionChurch of England
AddressYarras PO, Yarras, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation28
Next of kinFather, John Coombes, Forbes River, Yarras PO, Yarras, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date30 December 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name34th Battalion, A Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/51/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A20 Hororata on 2 May 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll34th Battalion
Other details from Roll of Honour CircularEnlisted 30 December 1915; taken on strength, 34th Bn, 1 April 1916.
FateKilled in Action 7 June 1917
Place of death or woundingMessines, Belgium
Age at death30
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
Family/military connectionsCousins: 4565 Pte Arthur COOMBES, 45th Bn, returned to Australia, 13 February 1917; 5060 Pte Arthur James COOMBES, 1st Bn, killed in action, 25 July 1916; 1669 Pte Matthew John COOMBES, 5th Light Trench Mortar Battery, returned to Australia, 4 May 1917; 4564 Lance Corporal Stanley COOMBES, 45th Bn, died of wounds, 12 October 1917.
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked from Sydney, 2 May 1916; disembarked Plymouth, 23 June 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 21 November 1916.

Killed in action, 7 June 1917. Buried at Anton's Farm, 1 mile S. of Messines, Belgium.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

Print format