The AIF Project

John Oliver ETHELL

Regimental number3341
Place of birthKalk Bay, Cape Town, South Africa
SchoolState and Private Tuition
Other trainingStudent for Holy Orders
Age on arrival in Australia8
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationSchool teacher
AddressThe Rectory, Laidley, Queensland
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation19
Next of kinFather, Rev. Alfred William Ethell, The Rectory, Laidley, Queensland
Enlistment date13 August 1915
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll13 August 1915
Rank on enlistmentSapper
Unit name6th Field Company Engineers
AWM Embarkation Roll number14/25/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A40 Ceramic on 24 November 1915
Rank from Nominal Roll2nd Lieutenant
Unit from Nominal Roll23rd Battalion
Other details from Roll of Honour Circular

'Patrol Leader in Baden Powell's Scouts. A Clergyman's son. He intended to enter the Church. His O.C. wrote of him: "In his death I have lost one of my most promising officers." The Padre wrote of him: "We all expected him to take a big place in the Army as he had all the qualities of a good officer". Was wounded at Bullecourt whilst in charge of a bombing party.' Details from Father.

FateKilled in Action 4 October 1917
Place of death or woundingBroodseinde, Passchendaele, Belgium
Age at death21.6
Age at death from cemetery records21
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
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Alfred William and May ETHELL, The Rectory, Laidley, Queensland
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

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

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