The AIF Project

Francis Hampton ATKINSON

Regimental number2186
Place of birthSydney, New South Wales
ReligionChurch of England
Address8 Abbott Street, West Maitland, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation27
Height5' 4.5"
Weight117 lbs
Next of kinFather, Frank Atkinson, Congewai Street, Aberdare via Cessnock, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date23 January 1916
Place of enlistmentWest Maitland, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name34th Battalion, 3rd Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/51/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A68 Anchises on 24 August 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll34th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 12 October 1917
Place of death or woundingBelgium
Age at death29
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 23), 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
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Sydney, 24 August 1916; disembarked Devonport, England, 11 October 1916; taken on strength, 34th Bn, 26 October 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 21 November 1916.

Marched out to Sanitation School, 28 January 1917; marched into 34th Bn, in the field, 3 February 1917.

Reported missing in action, 12 October 1917.

Court of Enquiry, 26 May 1918, concluded: Killed in action, Belgium, 12 October 1917.'

Statement, Red Cross File, 2402 Pte W.E. SMITH, D Company, 34th Bn, 11 February 1918: 'Both [ATKINSON and 3081 M.W. MALONEY] in my Pltn. 16 of D. Coy. We 3 had lost our Battn. in the mix-up and went to Bgde. H.Qrs. for its whereabouts. We were waiting in a dug-out when a shell struck us by which Maloney was killed and I lost an arm. I had to be dug out but I feel sure Atkinson was buried too and probably killed, because I heard them say there was a fellow under me and I knew he was hit by this shell.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, ATKINSON Francis Hampton
Red Cross File No 0160203C

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