The AIF Project

Ernest ARMSTRONG

Regimental number5032
Place of birthSydney, New South Wales
SchoolState School, Victoria
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationUpholsterer
Address76 Booth Street, Golden Square, Bendigo, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation19
Next of kinMother, Mrs A. Armstrong, 76 Booth Street, Golden Square, Bendigo, Victoria
Previous military serviceServed in the Senior Cadets for 4 years.
Enlistment date24 January 1916
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name7th Battalion, 16th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/24/4
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A23 Suffolk on 1 April 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll7th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 5 October 1917
Place of death or woundingBelgium
Age at death20.8
Age at death from cemetery records20
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
49
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Son of William Charles and Annie Armstrong. Native of Sydney
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Disembarked Suez, 9 May 1916. Admitted to 1st Australian Dermatological Hospital, Abbassia, 9 May 1916; discharged to details, 8 June 1916; admitted to 2nd Australian Stationary Hospital, Tel el Kebir, 16 June 1916; discharged to Divisional Headquarters Details, 5 July 1916, after total of 51 days' treatment for venereal disease.

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 29 July 1916; marched in to 2nd Training Bn, England, 10 August 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 29 August 1916. Admitted to New Zealand Stationary Hospital, Amiens, 28 November 1916 (bronchitis); to 3rd Canadian General Hospital, Boulogne, 30 November 1916;to 7th Convalescent Depot, 12 December 1916; to Rest Camp, 15 December 1916; rejoined unit, 7 January 1917.

Admitted to 45th Casualty Clearing Station, 10 February 1917 (catarrh); transferred to England, 26 February 1917, and admitted to Prince Christian Hospital, 27 February 1917. Discharged to No. 2 Command Depot, 26 March 1917. Proceeded overseas to France, 20 June 1917; rejoined unit, 14 July 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 5 October 1917.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

Eldest sister, Florence ARMSTRONG, signed a statutory declaration, 26 January 1922: 'Our mother Annie Armstrong died in May 1919. Our father William Charles Armstrong deserted myself and my little sister, aged 10 years, over 12 months ago and has not since contributed to our support. I have no knowledge of his present whereabouts. My age is eighteen (18) years. My sister and I are the only members of the family. I am sorry to say that my father is a drunkard and I know he would not take care of any medals if handed over to him and in any case, in view of his treatment of my sister and myself, I consider he is not a fit and proper person to hold any mementoes of his deceased son ... ' Base Records ruled that Miss Armstrong should receive the medals.

Print format