The AIF Project


Regimental number425
Place of birthCharters Towers, Queensland
SchoolCoorparoo State School, Queensland
AddressWithington Street, East Brisbane, Queensland
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation23.5
Height5' 5"
Weight107 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs Margaret Finlay, Withington Street, East Brisbane, Queensland
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date6 May 1916
Place of enlistmentBrisbane, Queensland
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit nameMachine Gun Company 12, Reinforcement 6
AWM Embarkation Roll number24/17/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A17 Port Lincoln on 20 October 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll39th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 12 October 1917
Place of death or woundingPasschendaele, Ypres, Belgium
Age at death from cemetery records25
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: John and Margaret FINLAY, Withington Street, East Brisbane, Queensland
Family/military connectionsBrother: 426 Pte John FINLAY, 39th Bn, returned to Australia, 24 December 1918.
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Melbourne, 20 October 1916; disembarked Sierra Leone, 5 December 1916; transferred to HT 'Ulysses', 5 December 1916; disembarked Devonport, England, 28 December 1916.

Transferred to 5th Divisional Machine Gun Company, Perham Downs, 13 February 1917.

Proceeded overseas to France, 11 May 1917; taken on strength, 10th Machine Gun Company, in the field, 16 June 1917.

Transferred to 39th Bn, 30 August 1917.

Attached for duty, 10th Machine Gun Company, 25 September 1917.

Killed in action, 12 October 1917.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, FINLAY Gavin

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