The AIF Project


Regimental number4394
Date of birth13 July 1886
Place of birthCrookwell, New South Wales
SchoolMerry Vale Public School, New South Wales
ReligionRoman Catholic
OccupationHospital attendant
AddressAnzac, Joseph Street, Lidcombe, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation29
Height5' 6"
Weight121 lbs
Next of kinMother, M A Cunningham, Joseph Street, Lidcombe, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date3 January 1916
Place of enlistmentSydney, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name17th Battalion, 11th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/34/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A71 Nestor on 9 April 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll17th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 9 October 1917
Place of death or woundingPasschendaele, Ypres, Belgium
Age at death31
Age at death from cemetery records31
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
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Bernard and Mary Angela CUNNINGHAM, 'Ione', Leicester Avenue, Strathfield, New South Wales. Native of Crookwell, New South Wales
Family/military connectionsBrother: 3032A Driver Alexander Ambrose CUNNINGHAM, 59th Bn, returned to Australia, 15 May 1919.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Embarked Alexandria, 28 May 1916; disembarked Plymouth, England, 7 June 1916. Proceeded overseas to France, 5 September 1916; taken on strength, 17th Bn, Belgium, 15 September 1916.

Admitted to 15th Casualty Clearing Station, 5 October 1916 (contusions, legs); discharged to duty, 2 November 1916.

Admitted to 1st Anzac Rest Station; rejoined Bn, 5 January 1917.

Wounded in action, 3 May 1917 (gun shot wound, head), and admitted to 3rd Australian Casualty Clearing Station; transferred to 10th General Hospital, Rouen, 5 May 1917; discharged to 2nd Australian Division Base Depot, Havre, 2 June 1917; rejoined Bn, France, 21 June 1917.

Reported missing in action, Belgium, 9 October 1917. Court of Enquiry (date not recorded) confirmed fate as killed in action 0n 9 October 1917.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

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