FolkestoneJack's Tracks

The Menin Gate

Posted in Belgium, Ypres by folkestonejack on August 27, 2011

Three trips to Belgium have taken us to the Menin Gate. On the first occasion we had no knowledge of any family names inscribed on the panels, but by the time of our second visit we had discovered one name from one of the Wiltshire families on my father’s side. Not long after we returned we discovered a further name, this time a distant relation on my mother’s side of the family. It was for this reason that we had come back, to pay our respects to Frederick Ernest Phillips of the Australian Infantry Force.

The tales don’t get any less tragic, but in this case the added detail provided by the red cross files somehow gives it a brutal edge. The files for Sergeant Phillips record that he was “killed outright at Passchendaele, at the hop-over, by a shell” and a second witness stated that he had seen him “lying dead in a shell hole”. Sadly, the story is a familiar one – as the names of many Australian soldiers on the neighbouring panels testify.

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