The AIF Project

Henry ERSKINE

Regimental number2598
Place of birthCrosses, Co Monaghan, Ireland
SchoolModel School, Monaghan, Ireland
Age on arrival in Australia20
ReligionPresbyterian
OccupationPorter
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation23
Height5' 7.25"
Weight150 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs Erskine, Crosses, Co Monaghan, Ireland
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date24 May 1915
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll24 May 1915
Place of enlistmentBrisbane, Queensland
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name9th Battalion, 8th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/26/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Brisbane, Queensland, on board HMAT A55 Kyarra on 16 August 1915
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll49th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 12 October 1917
Place of death or woundingPasschendaele, Ypres, Belgium
Age at death26
Place of burialNo known grave
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
148
Family/military connectionsBrother: 1657 Pte Alfred ERSKINE, 58th Bn, returned to Australia, 27 September 1917 (after being wounded in action).
Other details

War service: joined unit on Mudros, 18 November 1915. Disembarked Alexandria, 4 January 1916 (general Gallipoli evacuation). Admitted to 12th Field Ambulance, Tel el Kebir, 15 January 1916 (dental treatment). Transferred to 49th Bn, 25 February 1916; taken on strength, 49th Bn, 27 February 1916. Found guilty,3 May 1916, of being absent without leave from 0500, 2 February, to 0500, 4 February 1916: awarded 6 days confined to camp and forfeited 3 days' pay.

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 5 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 12 June 1916.

Wounded in action, 3 September 1916 (gun shot wound, back); admitted to 4th General Hospital, Camiers, 5 September 1916. Listed as 'dangerously ill', 10 September 1916; 'seriously ill', 17 September 1916. Transferred to England, 1 October 1916, and admitted to Colchester Military Hospital, 1 October 1916. Transferred to 3rd Auxiliary Hospital, 14 November 1916; discharged on furlough, 15 December 1916, to report back to 3rd Auxiliary Hospital, 2 January 1917.Discharged to No. 2 Command Depot, Weymouth, 29 January 1917. Admitted to 1st Australian Dermatological Hospital, 13 April 1917; discharged, 29 April 1917; total period of treatment for venereal disease: 17 days. Proceeded overseas to France, 26 July 1917. Found guilty, 29 July 1917, of insubordination to an NCO: awarded forfeiture of 5 days' pay. Rejoined 49th Bn, 7 September 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 12 October 1917.

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, ERSKINE Henry

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