The AIF Project

Percy William ECKFORD

Regimental number2555
Place of birthSydney New South Wales
SchoolSt Patrick's (Catholic) School, Church Hall, Sydney, New South Wales
ReligionRoman Catholic
OccupationTobacco worker
Address53 Cleveland Street, Darlington, Sydney, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation26
Next of kinMother, Mrs Mary Elizabeth Eckford, 53 Cleveland Street, Darlington, Sydney, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date27 September 1916
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name38th Battalion, 5th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/55/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A24 Benalla on 9 November 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll38th Battalion
Other details from Roll of Honour Circular'Deceased was descended from some of the early pioneers, a fact of which he was very proud. His Grandfather, the late Ralph Eckford, was for 25 years a member for the NSW Legislative Assembly and also Australian born.'
FateKilled in Action 4 October 1917
Place of death or woundingBelgium
Age at death28
Age at death from cemetery records28
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 25), 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: Walter and Mary Elizabeth ECKFORD, 13 Darlington Road, Darlington, New South Wales. Native of Sydney, New South Wales
Family/military connectionsBrother: 5139 Pte Joseph Harold ECKFORD, 36th Bn, returned to Australia, 15 April 1918.
Other details

War service: embarked from Sydney, 9 November 1916; disembarked Cape Town, South Africa. Failed to re-embark, 4 December 1916. Awarded 28 days' detention, 13 January 1917 (not enforced). Re-embarked from Cape Town, 5 December 1916; disembarked Devonport, England, 10 January 1917.

Proceeded overseas to France, 25 April 1917; taken on strength, 38th Bn, 30 April 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 4 October 1917.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

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