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Australian Graves In Europe

  • April 26th, 2009
  • Posted by EUEditor

villers-bret.jpgDark skies this year and dark economic times did not keep away the crowds attending ANZAC Day commemorations at the Australian memorial, at Villers Bretonneux, in France.

villers-bret-landscape.jpgThe new monument on the celebrated World War 1 battlefield was completed last year ahead of the day, and this time the crowd estimates were close to the 5000 who attended for that first time.

villers-bret-field.jpgThere are five other Australian monuments, for each of the five army Divisions sent to fight, at war cemeteries throughout the former Western front, in France and Belgium.

In all Australia lost 46 000 in that theatre, from a total exceeding 60 000 in the “Great War”.

With the passing of the last of the ANZACs a great revival of sentiment has seen increased numbers of people at commemorations each 25th of April, at home and overseas.

A trek to Anzac Cove at Gallipoli has become important on the European backpacker trail.

However with more interest, and promotion now in the European battlefields – including new museums and built instructional walking paths – a trip across from London to Flanders could become a more practical, and also appropriate gesture of respect.

The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) took part in the Gallipoli campaign in 1915, and were then sent to France.

The anniversary of the Gallipoli landing, at dawn on 25.4.09, is commemorated in both countries as a national time of remembrance.

See also: EUAustralia, Remembering Passchendaele”, 7.7.07; “ANZAC Crowds Worldwide”, 264.07; “ANZAC Sets Scene for Passchendaele events”, 22.4.07; “Australians on the Western Front”, 22.4.07.

Pictures:

Villers Brettoneux memorial and fields; town built on a rise in the landscape: macknorthshs; webmatters; awg

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