The Menin Gate memorial arch in Ypres (Ieper), Belgium, holds the names of 55,000 soldiers who died during the Great War and have no known grave.
During WWI, more than 13,000 Australians made the ultimate sacrifice in Belgium. At least four of those listed are from Cootamundra.
- James Jim Joseph Curley Reg #5805 killed in action (KIA) 20.9.17 at the age of 27 years 8 months
- Edwin John “Ted” O’Keefe KIA 20.9.17
- Charles Thomas Ayres Reg #3002 KIA 26.9.17 at the age of 31½ years old
- Clarence Harold Arthur Cooke Reg #3012 Killed in action 8.10.17
Two new lions were unveiled at the gate on November 6, a gift from the Australian Government, with the originals given to Australia by the city of Ieper in 1936 as an expression of gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice made by more than 13,000 Australian soldiers in Belgium. The originals are now at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, following some restoration work, for all visitors to see.
The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said Australia and the city of Ypres (Ieper), which was accepting the gift on behalf of the Belgian people, have a special connection that was forged some 100 years ago, as demonstrated by the Menin Gate and its lions.
Mr Chester and the Mayor of Ieper signed an official agreement as part of the ceremony to finalise the gift from Australia.