The AIF Project

John Alexander ARMSTRONG

Regimental number1094
Place of birthAuckland, New Zealand
SchoolPublic School, New Zealand
Age on arrival in Australia19
ReligionRoman Catholic
OccupationSawyer
AddressWaitoa, Te Aroha, Auckland, New Zealand
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation25
Next of kinSister, Mrs K Armstrong, Waitoa, Te Aroha, Auckland, New Zealand
Previous military serviceServed in the School Cadets.
Enlistment date8 May 1915
Place of enlistmentLiverpool, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name18th Battalion, Army Medical Corps Attached
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A40 Ceramic on 25 June 1915
Rank from Nominal RollSergeant
Unit from Nominal Roll5th Machine Gun Company
FateKilled in Action 9 October 1917
Age at death24
Age at death from cemetery records24
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 31), 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
177
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Walter and Margaret ARMSTRONG. Native of Auckland, New Zealand
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Proceeded to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, Gallipoli, 16 August 1915. Reported missing, 5 September 1915; subsequently reported as alive. Admitted to 5th Field Ambulance, 28 October 1915; transferred to hospital ship, 29 October 1915 (jaundice); to St Patrick's Hospital, Malta, 2 November 1915; discharged to active service, 20 December 1915, and embarked for Egypt. Taken on strength, Overseas Base, Ghezireh, Egypt, 27 December 1915; rejoined 18th Bn, 5 February 1916. Transferred to 5th Machine Gun Company, 8 March 1916.

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 17 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, 23 March 1916.

Appointed Lance Corporal, 16 April 1917; Temporary Corporal, 8 May 1917; reverted to Lance Corporal, 11 June 1917; Temporary Corporal, 3 July 1917; Corporal, 12 July 1917; Sergeant, 20 September 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 9 October 1917.

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

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