Commemoration of the Centenary of the Battles of Third Ypres Anzac Memorial, Hyde Park Sydney, Tuesday 26 September 2017

 The Commemoration of the Centenary of the Battles of Third Ypres was held on the centenary of the Battle of Polygon Wood, Tuesday 26 September 2017 at the Anzac Memorial, Hyde Park Sydney. The commemoration honoured the 43 Divisions of British and Dominion troops involved in all the Battles of Third Ypres. The battles lasted for 102 days with more than 300,000 casualties.  Australian Divisions participated in the battles of

Menin Road, 20-25 September;
Polygon Wood, 26 September to 3 October;
Broodseinde, 4 October;
Poelcapelle, 9 October; and
Passchendaele (First Battle), 12 October.

I ANZAC Corps, consisting of the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th Australian Divisions and II ANZAC Corps consisting of the 3rd Australian Division, the New Zealand Division with 2 British Divisions on rotation, fought alongside each other for the first time.

 Hosted by the Families and Friends of the First AIF (Australian Imperial Force), descendants of soldiers of the Great War, with representatives of the Belgian Government, civic leaders, descendant organisations, ex-service organisations, Members of the Centenary of Anzac Council, Trustees of the Anzac Memorial and Australian Defence Forces personnel honoured those who fought in the series of desperate battles.

 ANZ_YPRES_2017_070 Welcome - Marquee and City vista

Click on images to enlarge – Photographs by Rob Tuckwell

Whilst more than 100 guests gathered in bright sunshine, the Australian Army Band Sydney under the direction of Officer Commanding and Music Director, Major Matt Chilmaid played Nearer My God to Thee, and God Bless Australia as gathering songs.

 ANZ_YPRES_2017_006c Gathering Songs - Australian Army Band Sydney with Major Matt Chilmaid

Gathering Songs led by Australian Army Band Sydney with Major Matt Chilmaid

ANZ_YPRES_2017_014 Jill Hayes, Dame Marie Bashir and Jim Munro and Poppy umbrella

Guest of Honour, Professor the Hon. Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO was welcomed by FFFAIF President Jim Munro and Committee Member Jill Hayes and presented with a Rembrella poppy umbrella to protect her from the sun and in appreciation of her contribution to FFFAIF commemorations over recent years.

Other Guests included:

Mrs. Andrée Kerremans, Consul at the Embassy of Belgium
Mr. Paul Leroy, Honorary Consul of Belgium in New South Wales
The Hon. Natasha Maclaren-Jones MLC, representing The Hon David Elliott MP, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
Councillor Christine Forster, representing The City of Sydney
Ms Louise Ferguson: Director, Strategy & Coordination, Educational Services representing the Secretary, Department of Education as Trustee of the Anzac Memorial
Professor John Ramsland OAM, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Newcastle

NSW Centenary of Anzac Advisory Councillors:
Mr Harry Allie BEM: Chair of the NSW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Veterans Commemoration Service Committee;
Mr Ron Brown, President of the National Serviceman’s Association (NSW);
Mr Will Davies, Historian and author;
Lieutenant Colonel Colin Dunston RFD, Past President of Sydney Legacy;
Mr Joshua Favaloro;
Mrs Olwyn Green OAM, Korean War Widow;
Mrs Wendy Thompson, Past President NSW War Widows Guild of Australia; and
Mrs Diane Vogt representing the President, NSW War Widows Guild of Australia

Senior Defence Personnel
Lt. Col. Paul Simadas RFD, Headquarters, Australian Army Cadets, representing The Australian Army;
Wing Commander David Mason, representing RAAF AVM Steven Roberton DSC AM, Air Commander Australia; and
CAPT Stephen Bowater, representing RAN Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer AO CSC and Bar, Fleet Commander.

Mr Alexander Weilsmann, Director of Institutional Relationships & United Nations Day Adviser, United Nations Association Australia (NSW);

Mr Greg Cowle, President & Mrs Karen Dawson, Secretary, Australian World War One Descendants.

Click here to view the Order of Service.

ANZ_YPRES_2017_047c Officials -Margaret Snodgrass, Dame Marie Bashir, Jim Munro with Poppy umbrella and Corps of Guards Iain Finlay & Pam Richardson

The commemoration commenced with Professor Bashir being escorted to her seat by FFFAIF President Jim Munro and Committee Member Margaret Snodgrass OAM who, as FFFAIF’s Commemorations Officer, has met and welcomed guests at FFFAIF commemorations for the past 8 years, accompanied by NSW RSL Corps of Guards Adjutant Iain Finlay and Assistant Adjutant Pam Richardson.

ANZ_YPRES_2017_082 Acknowledgement of Country - Harry Allie BEM

Master of Ceremonies, and FFFAIF Member Darren Mitchell welcomed guests and invited Mr Harry Allie BEM, Chair of the NSW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Veterans Commemoration Service Committee and a member of the NSW Centenary of Anzac Advisory Council to make an Acknowledgement of Country on behalf of indigenous elders

You can hear Mr Harry Allie’s Acknowledgement of Country on the Anzac Memorial’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AnzacMemorial.

Led by the Australian Army Band Sydney featuring Musician Jeff Camilleri, the Recessional was sung.

 ANZ_YPRES_2017_087 Recessional led by Jeff Camilleri and the Australian Army Band Sydney ANZ_YPRES_2017_085 Recessional - Dignitaries

Recessional led by Jeff Camilleri and the Australian Army Band Sydney
Capt. Stephen Bowater, Lt Col Paul Simadas, Wing Cmdr. David Mason, Natasha Maclaren-Jones, Harry Allie, Jill Hayes, Jim Munro, Dame Marie Bashir, Russell Curley, Craig Laffin, Andrée Kerremans, Paul Leroy, Pastor Bob Durbin, with NSW RSL Corps of Guards Adjutant Iain Findlay. [Click on images to enlarge]
 

A Vice Regal Message from His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia and FFFAIF Patron-in-Chief was read by MC Darren Mitchell. Click here to read the Vice-Regal message for Third Battle of Ypres.

Messages of appreciation from the people of Ieper and Belgium were conveyed by Mrs. Andrée Kerremans, Consul at the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium

ANZ_YPRES_2017_104c Message from Belgium - Consul Andrée Kerremans ANZ_YPRES_2017_116c Message from Belgium - Consul Andrée Kerremans
  Messages from Belgium delivered by Consul Andrée Kerremans
[Click on images to enlarge]

 Click here to read the Message from Ieper.

 You can hear Mrs. Andrée Kerremans’ Message from Belgium on the Anzac Memorial’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AnzacMemorial

 The Hon. Natasha Maclaren-Jones MLC, representing The Hon David Elliott MP, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs pronounced a call to remember the Battles in Belgium in 1917.

 ANZ_YPRES_2017_165 Prologue - The Hon Natasha Maclaren-Jones MLC ANZ_YPRES_2017_152c The Hon Natasha Maclaren-Jones MLC
The Hon Natasha Maclaren-Jones MLC pronounces the Prologue

 You can hear The Hon. Natasha Maclaren-Jones’ Prologue on the Anzac Memorial’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AnzacMemorial

Pastor Bob Durbin, Chaplain, RSL LifeCare offered a Prayer.

ANZ_YPRES_2017_178c Prayer - Pastor Bob DurbinPrayer offered by Pastor Bob Durbin

 Musician Amelia Johnson with the Australian Army Band Sydney led the singing of Abide with Me.

ANZ_YPRES_2017_194c Abide with Me - led by Amelia Johnson with the Australian Army Band Sydney ANZ_YPRES_2017_196c Abide with Me - WCDR Mason, Natasha Maclaren-Jones, Harry Allie, Jill Hayes, Jim Munro, Dame Marie, Russ Curley, Craig Laffin
Abide with Me
led by Amelia Johnson with the Australian Army Band Sydney
WCDR Mason, Natasha Maclaren-Jones, Harry Allie, Jill Hayes, Jim Munro, Dame Marie Bashir, Russell Curley, Craig Laffin, Andrée Kerremans, Paul Leroy, Pastor Bob Durbin.
[Click on images to enlarge]

 Historian and FFFAIF member Emeritus Professor John Ramsland OAM in his Commemorative Address entitled, The Road to Passchendaele, gave his insights and reflections on the battles and the troops who had fought in firstly the dust and then with the onset of rains on a shell-pocked battlefield, in the mud. He commented on the purported disbelief of a senior British Officer saying, “Good God, did we really send men to fight in this?”, which combined with the photographic images of Frank Hurley along the Menin Road and at Passchendaele, have come to epitomise these battles.

ANZ_YPRES_2017_215c Commemorative Address - The Road to Passchendaele - Prof John Ramsland OAM ANZ_YPRES_2017_224c Commemorative Address - The Road to Passchendaele - Prof John Ramsland OAM ANZ_YPRES_2017_200c Commemorative Address - The Road to Passchendaele - Prof John Ramsland OAM

   Commemorative Address: The Road to Passchendaele delivered by Emeritus Professor John Ramsland OAM

 You can hear Professor John Ramsland’s Commemorative Address, The Road to Passchendaele on the Anzac Memorial’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AnzacMemorial

Judy Wood, a FFFAIF member shared her Family Reflection with guests. She spoke of her great-uncle Private Harry Lisle, who enlisted when he was 23 and was with the 36th Bn when he was firstly reported as Missing and later as Killed In Action near Boston Farm as part of the Battle of Passchendaele on 12 October 1917. He has no known grave and is memorialised on the Menin Gate.

ANZ_YPRES_2017_227 Family Reflection - Judy Wood FFFAIF ANZ_YPRES_2017_236c Family Reflection - Judy Wood FFFAIF

 Judy Wood honouring her great-uncle Private Harry Lisle, 36 Bn in her Family Reflection

You can hear Judy Wood’s Family Reflection on the Anzac Memorial’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AnzacMemorial.

Piper Jim Braid of the NSW Scottish Regimental Association piped the Lament while wreaths were laid under the guidance of the NSW RSL Corps of Guards.

ANZ_YPRES_2017_254 Lament - Piper Jim Braid with Bugler Ross Griffiths
Lament played by Piper Jim Braid with Bugler Ross Griffiths

Laying wreaths were:

Mrs Andrée Kerremans, Consul, representing the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium together with Mr Paul Leroy, Honorary Consul; and
The Hon. Natasha Maclaren-Jones MLC, representing the Premier of NSW and Hon. David Elliott MP Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, on behalf of the NSW Government; along with
Councillor Christine Forster, on behalf of the City of Sydney.

ANZ_YPRES_2017_246c The Hon Natasha Maclaren-Jones MLC, Belgium Consuls Andrée Kerremans & Paul Leroy, Councillor ForsterThe Hon Natasha Maclaren-Jones MLC, Belgium Consuls Andrée Kerremans & Paul Leroy, Councillor Christine Forster

 Mr Harry Allie BEM, Chair of the NSW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Veterans Commemoration Committee;
Professor the Hon. Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO; along with
Mrs Diane Vogt, representing the War Widows Guild, NSW.

 ANZ_YPRES_2017_253c Wreath laying - Harry Allie, The Hon Dame Marie Bashir and Diane Vogt War Widows Guild of Australia (NSW)
Harry Allie, The Hon Dame Marie Bashir and Diane Vogt War Widows Guild of Australia (NSW) [Click on images to enlarge]

Mr Jim Munro, President of the Families and Friends of the 1st AIF;
Mr Craig Laffin, Inaugural President FFFAIF; and
Mr Russell Curley, Immediate Past President FFFAIF,
‘in tribute to all those who served’.

 ANZ_YPRES_2017_262c Wreath laying - 3 FFFAIF Presidents Russ Curley, Jim Munro & Craig Laffin

Wreath laying – 3 FFFAIF Presidents Russ Curley, Jim Munro & Craig Laffin

Captain Stephen Bowater OAM RAN, representing Fleet Commander;
Lieutenant Colonel Paul Simadas RFD (Headquarters, Australian Army Cadets), representing Commander, Forces Command; and
Wing Commander David Mason, representing Air Commander Australia.

ANZ_YPRES_2017_266c Wreath laying - Capt Stephen Bowater, Lt Col Paul Simadas, Wing Cmdr David Mason ANZ_YPRES_2017_267c Wreath laying - Capt Stephen Bowater, Lt Col Paul Simadas, Wing Cmdr David Mason

Capt. Stephen Bowater, Lt Col Paul Simadas, Wing Cmdr. David Mason
[click on images to enlarge]

 Mr Ron Brown, President of the National Serviceman’s Association (NSW);
Lieutenant Colonel Colin Dunston RFD, Past President of Sydney Legacy; and
Mr Alexander Weilsmann, representing the United Nations Association Australia (NSW).

ANZ_YPRES_2017_272c Wreath laying - Ron Brown, National Serviceman's Assn, Lt Col Colin Dunstan, Legacy, Alexander Weilsmann UNAA

Wreath laying – Ron Brown, National Serviceman’s Assn, Lt Col Colin Dunstan, Legacy, Alexander Weilsmann United Nations Association Australia (NSW)

 Mrs Pam Shadie, Mr Ken Shadie OAM and Mr Peter Shadie, FFFAIF, in memory of her father Pte. John George Coles Jameson 56th Bn, wounded in Polygon Wood on 26th September 1917; and
Greg Cowle, President & Karen Dawson, Secretary, Australian World War One Descendants. 

ANZ_YPRES_2017_279c Peter and Ken Shadie OAM for Pte Jameson, Greg Cowle and Karen Dawson, Australian World War One Descendants

Peter and Ken Shadie for Pte Jameson, Greg Cowle & Karen Dawson, Australian World War One Descendants

ANZ_YPRES_2017_419 Pam and Ken Shadie, Peter Shadie and family

Pam and Ken Shadie, Peter Shadie and family

Other descendants at the commemoration honouring their relatives included:

Mr Geoff Horsnell, descendant of Private Bert Dyson (18th Bn) KIA 20 September 1917.

Frances Bluhdorn, grandson of Pte Louis Hollingworth Bluhdorn (2876) of 56th Battalion, sustaining shell wounds to his abdomen and chest during the Battle of Polygon Wood on 26 September 1917.

Mrs Christine Roever & Mrs Maureen Luke, grand-daughters of L/Cpl 2366 Claud Nancarrow (36th Bn) KIA 12 October 1917.

Mrs Nerida Kikken, commemorating close family friend Sapper 3641 Herbert Erkwell Archer Warr (4th Sigs Coy Field Engineers) KIA 28 October 1917.

Mr Warren Cardwell, descendent of Sergeant Alexander Hood (1st Tunnelling Coy) KIA 31 October 1917.

Mr Denis Tamplin, descendant of Lieutenant Roy Keene MC (2nd Field Artillery Brigade) KIA at ANZAC Ridge 16 November 1917.

Mr Neil Falconer, descendant of WOI 7111 Alexander Falconer (5th Field Ambulance Bde) RTA 15 May 1917.

Mr John Nairn, descendant of Private 3806 William John Hayward (12th Field Ambulance) RTA 8 November 1918.

Mr David and Mrs Jill Stevenson, descendants of Gunner Ernest George Stevenson (10th FAB) RTA 26 August1918 and Private Horace Armitage Montefiore (20th Bn).

Mr Norman Leek, son of George Harold Leek (33rd Bn) WIA RTA.

Greg and Debbie Rogers and great niece, honouring Greg’s 2 great-uncles Hector and Roy Goldsborough, and Debbie’s grandfather, William Wemyss Dobson.

 ANZ_YPRES_2017_413 Greg and Debbie Rogers and great neice

Greg and Debbie Rogers and great niece

Greg was wearing his Vietnam service medals (2 tours), the WW2 medals of his father Hector Roy Rogers who was named for his 2 uncles Hector and Roy Goldsborough, Killed in Action in April and May of 1917 respectively at Bullecourt.

Debbie was wearing the medals of her grandfather, ANZAC veteran, 2087 William Wemyss Dobson, 3 Bn, who was wounded at Lone Pine. He died in 1963 and is buried in an unmarked grave at Rookwood Cemetery.

The Ode was recited by Mr Joshua Favaloro, a Member of NSW Centenary of Anzac Advisory Council before the Last Post was played by Bandsman Ross Griffiths of the Fire and Rescue NSW Band followed by Silence and The Rouse.

ANZ_YPRES_2017_292 The Ode - Joshua Favaloro with MC Darren Mitchell

Mr Joshua Favaloro reciting The Ode, with MC Darren Mitchell

ANZ_YPRES_2017_295 The Last Post - Piper Jim Braid, Bugler Ross Griffiths, MC Darren Mitchell and RAN Flag Orderly Ensign M Gunter

The Last Post sounded by Bugler Ross Griffiths, Piper Jim Braid and RAN Flag Orderly Ensign M Gunter

ANZ_YPRES_2017_311 Silence - Pastor Bob Durbin with Tom Barker

Pastor Bob Durbin with Tom Barker

 Musician Amelia Johnson with the Australian Army Band Sydney sang Colin Buchanan and Garth Porter’s haunting composition Oh Passchendaele.

ANZ_YPRES_2017_320 Oh Passchendaele sung by Amelia Johnson with the Australian Army Band Sydney ANZ_YPRES_2017_326 Oh Passchendaele sung by Amelia Johnson with the Australian Army Band Sydney Oh Passchendaele sung by Amelia Johnson with the Australian Army Band Sydney
[click on images to enlarge]

You can hear Musician Amelia Johnson’s rendition of Oh Passchendaele backed by the Australian Army Band Sydney on the Anzac Memorial’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AnzacMemorial.

After a closing prayer and blessing by Pastor Bob Durbin, the Epilogue was delivered by President of FFFAIF, Jim Munro.

ANZ_YPRES_2017_343 Prayer and Blessing - Pastor Bob Durbin

ANZ_YPRES_2017_353c Epilogue - Jim Munro FFFAIF ANZ_YPRES_2017_378c Epilogue - Jim Munro FFFAIF

Jim Munro conveyed that FFFAIF was honoured to be able to organise the Commemoration for the Battles of Third Ypres. It has been an aspiration for some years and is a significant achievement. Mr Munro acknowledged those who helped organise the commemoration.

Then in closing, he remembered 2 soldiers who fought in the Battles of Third Ypres, and are remembered by their families, however their families were not able to travel to the commemoration:

Harold Campbell, relative of FFFAIF Committee member, Maurice Campbell.
Sgt Harold CAMPBELL, 2388, 3rd Battalion AIF, served as sniper at Gallipoli, was gassed & wounded at Pozieres, and Killed in Action, Anzac Ridge, 7th October 1917, buried in Aeroplane Cemetery next to his Captain with the other seven men killed by the same shell, with a headstone marked “Known Unto God”.

William Russell, relative of Adrian Russell and the Russell and Jeffries families.
Arthur and William Russell two brothers took part in the Battle of Fromelles. Arthur was killed in action body not recovered and William wounded. William recovered and returned to the Western Front in November 1916 and continued to serve with the 54th Battalion until September 1917 when he was killed in action during the battle of Polygon Woods.

Mr Munro assured:

“Harold and William, we remember you, and all those who served with you,
Those who fell in battle, and those who returned.
The shattered families, the trauma and debilitating injuries that changed careers and opportunities,
the disabled and institutionalised men who could barely play any part in the country that had asked them to give their all –
we owe it to them and their families to honour their service and sacrifice.
Lest we Forget.”

You can hear Jim Munro’s Epilogue on the Anzac Memorial’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AnzacMemorial.

The National Anthem of the Kingdom of Belgium was sung in Flemish by Musician Amelia Johnson, the New Zealand National Anthem was sung by Musician Jeff Camilleri, Musician Amelia Johnson also led the singing of God Save the Queen, the UK National Anthem and the National Anthem of Australia at the time of The Great War, and Jeff Camilleri led the singing of the Australian National Anthem with the Australian Army Band Sydney.

ANZ_YPRES_2017_386c Belgium National Anthem led by Amelia Johnson

The Belgium National Anthem led by Amelia Johnson with the Australian Army Band Sydney

ANZ_YPRES_2017_387c Belgium National Anthem

ANZ_YPRES_2017_393 Australian Army Band Sydney playing New Zealand National Anthem led by Jeff Camilleri ANZ_YPRES_2017_394c Australian Army Band Sydney playing UK National Anthem led by Amelia Johnson

The Australian Army Band Sydney playing the New Zealand National Anthem led by Jeff Camilleri

The Australian Army Band Sydney playing God Save the Queen led by Amelia Johnson
[click on images to enlarge]

ANZ_YPRES_2017_399 Australian Army Band Sydney Australian Nation Anthem led by Jeff Camilleri

Australian Nation Anthem led by Jeff Camilleri with the Australian Army Band Sydney

 You can hear The National Anthems on the Anzac Memorial’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AnzacMemorial.

Special thanks go to the Trustees of the Anzac Memorial, their staff, and contractors for providing the marquees and sound system. 

The presence of the Australian Army Band Sydney under the direction of Officer Commanding and Music Director, Major Matt Chilmaid and in particular Musicians Amelia Johnson and Jeff Camilleri for showing us how commemorations can be enhanced with songs and music.

ANZ_YPRES_2017_424c Australian Army Band Sydney with Major Matt Chilmaid

With special appreciation to the Australian Army Band Sydney with Major Matt Chilmaid

 Pastor Bob Durbin, Chaplain at RSL LifeCare offered solemn prayer, to help when struggling with our thoughts and words.

 Piper Jim Braid of NSW Scottish Regimental Association for his piping of the Lament.

Bandsman Ross Griffiths Fire and Rescue New South Wales Band for evoking the link to the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ieper where the Buglers of the Fire Brigades salute the service of their military comrades nightly. 

Warrant Officer Class One Rod Cornick OAM, Regimental Sergeant Major, Joint Ceremonial NSW of the Australian Army and the flag orderlies of the Royal Australian Navy, who along with the NSW RSL Corps of Guards led by Adjutant Iain Finlay and Assistant Adjutant Pam Richardson, contributed significantly to the solemnity and formality of the commemoration.

Photographer Rob Tuckwell has created a good photographic record, which contributes significantly to this Report.
Rosie Patrielli, from the Office for Veterans Affairs (NSW) for streaming parts of the service live to the Anzac Memorial’s Facebook page so that this commemoration can be viewed by others across Australia and indeed across the world who were not able to attend the commemoration but would like to honour those who served in the Battles of Third Ypres.

Special thanks also to the FFFAIF Extended Working Group Members Darren Mitchell and Geoff Lewis, Anzac Memorial Senior Operations Coordinator Belinda Mitrovich and Property Manager, Michael Trenear, NSW RSL Corps of Guards Adjutant Iain Finlay and Assistant Adjutant Pam Richardson, Regimental Sergeant Major Warrant Officer Class One Rod Cornick OAM, with input and assistance from FFFAIF members Margaret Snodgrass, Jill Hayes and Alexander Weilsmann.

And thanks to those who participated in the Commemoration Service:

  • Mr Harry Allie BEM: Chair of the NSW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Veterans Commemoration Service Committee;
  • Consul at the Embassy of Belgium, Mrs. Andrée Kerremans and Mr. Paul Leroy, Honorary Consul of Belgium in New South Wales;
  • The Hon. Natasha Maclaren-Jones MLC, representing The Hon David Elliott MP, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs;
  • Emeritus Professor John Ramsland OAM;
  • Mr Joshua Favaloro, member of the NSW Centenary of Anzac Advisory Council.
  • And Master of Ceremonies, Darren Mitchell

And thanks to all the dignitaries, civic and military leaders, descendants and representatives of ex-service and descendant organisations as well as descendants and friends who have attended the Commemoration and helped mark this historic and significant commemoration.

And finally, we thank those who served in The Great War, and in particular, those who participated in the Battles of Third Ypres, and their families.

Lest We Forget 

Jim Munro, President of FFFAIF
Chair, FFFAIF Commemoration Working Group

September 2017 

Posted in Commemorations, Ieper/Ypres, Passchendale, Poelcappelle, Polygon Wood, Zonnebeke | Comments Off

Sydney Centenary Commemoration of the Third Battle of Ypres

The Families and Friends of the First AIF
invite you to attend or view
the Commemoration of the
Centenary of The Third Battle of Ypres 

including
Menin Road, 2025 September
Polygon Wood, 26 September to 3 October
Broodseinde, 4 October
Poelcapelle, 9 October
Passchendaele (First Battle), 12 October

 The Commemoration will be at
The Anzac Memorial, Hyde Park, Sydney
10:45am for 11:00am Tuesday 26 September 2017

Video of the Commemoration will be streamed live to
the Anzac Memorial’s Facebook page and will remain available for viewing at
https://www.facebook.com/AnzacMemorial/

 Dress Code: Lounge suit, Day wear, Decorations / Medals may be worn, Poppy umbrellas
Please RSVP to Geoff Lewis rsvp@fffaif.org.au

Jim Munro, President

cross-of-sacrifice-hooge-crater-cemetery_sml

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

2017 John Laffin Memorial Lecture

John Laffin 1922-2000

Members and their guests are invited to attend

 The John Laffin Memorial Lecture

 Saturday 16th September 2017

  10:30 am to 4:30 pm

   Level 2, 99 York Street, Sydney CBD

One block from Town Hall Station – Several nearby car-parks offer an all-day rate of $20.

      Entry: $20 per head cash on the day                

 

Dr William Westerman: AIF battalion commanders at Third Ypres in 1917’.

Dr Ross McMullin: ‘In his own words, Pompey Elliott at War

Greg O’ Reilly: ‘4th Machine Gun Battalion AIF operations and personalities 1917-1918, new research

RSVP to rsvp@fffaif.org.au 

John Laffin Le Hamel 4 July 1998

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Centenary of commencement of The Third Battle of Ypres 31 July

The Centenary of the commencement of The Third Battle of Ypres on 31 July 2017 will be commemorated on July 31 at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Tyne Cot Cemetery, in Ypres, where 12,000 British and Commonwealth troops are buried.

DSCN0790 (Medium)

There will also be a Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate memorial in Ypres on July 30 and a number of live performances in the town’s market square to tell the story.

The photo above from FFFAIF Member Anny De Decker shows preparations by the BBC in the Main Square. From 29th till 31st there will be commemorative events. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (HRH Prince William and Kate) and King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of the Belgiums will attend events in Ieper on Sunday. Many of these will be broadcast worldwide, certainly the one at Tyne Cot on  Monday, where HRH Prince Charles is understood to be attending.

DSCN0783 (Medium)

The AWM web site describes the Third Battle of Ypres as the major British offensive in Flanders in 1917. It was planned to break through the strongly fortified and in-depth German defences enclosing the Ypres salient, a protruding bulge in the British front line, with the intention of sweeping through to the German submarine bases on the Belgian coast. The battle comprised of a series of limited and costly offensives, often undertaken in the most difficult of waterlogged conditions – a consequence of frequent periods of rain and the destruction of the Flanders’ lowlands drainage systems by intense artillery bombardment. As the opportunity for breakthrough receded, Field Marshall Sir Douglas Haig still saw virtue in maintaining the offensives, hoping in the process to drain German manpower through attrition. The main battles associated with Third Battle of Ypres were:

- Pilckem Ridge, 31 July to 2 August
- Langemarck, 1       6-18 August
- Menin Road, 20-25 September
– Polygon Wood, 26 September to 3 October
– Broodseinde, 4 October
– Poelcapelle, 9 October
– Passchendaele (First Battle), 12 October
- Passchendaele (Second Battle), 26 October to 10 November.

Australian Divisions participated in the battles of Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Broodseinde, Poelcapelle and the First Battle of Passchendaele. In eight weeks of fighting Australian forces incurred 38,000 casualties. The combined total of British and Dominion casualties has been estimated at 310,000 (estimated German losses were slightly lower) and no breakthrough was achieved. The costly offensives, ending with the capture of Passchendaele village, merely widened the Ypres salient by a few kilometres.

DSCN0793 (Medium)

Posted in Commemorations, Ieper/Ypres, Passchendale, Poelcappelle, Polygon Wood, The Western Front, Zonnebeke | Comments Off

Fromelles Day Sydney – Solemn Vespers and Procession from the Archibald Fountain to the Anzac Memorial Commemorative Service

Solemn Vespers at St Mary’s Cathedral on Tuesday 18 July 

Commemoration in Sydney of the 101st Anniversary of the Battle of Fromelles commenced with Solemn Vespers at St Mary’s Cathedral on Tuesday 18 July at 7pm commemorating the Australians in the Battle of Fromelles. The service was led by the Very Reverend Donald Richardson, Dean of St Mary’s Cathedral, in the presence of The Most Reverend Anthony Fisher OP, Archbishop of Sydney. The Service was sung by the Lay Clerks of St Mary’s Cathedral Choir with President of FFFAIF, Jim Munro Reading from Corinthians before the Dean’s Sermon.

Lt. General Kenneth Gillespie AC DSC CSM (Ret’d), Chair, NSW Centenary of Anzac Advisory Council, together with the Dean of St Mary’s, accompanied by Pamela Richardson and Carolyn McMahon of the NSW RSL Corps of Guards and Alexander Weilsmann, FFFAIF Member and St Mary’s Cathedral liaison with the NSW RSL Corps of Guards, laid wreaths at the Statue in Memory of Fallen Soldiers completed by George Lambert in 1931. As Australia did not have an official tomb of the unknown soldier until 1993, George Lambert’s recumbent figure came to be known informally as Australia’s ‘Monument to the unknown soldier‘. Located previously in the crypt, where it was touched in the evening by the setting sun, the memorial has now been moved into the aisle of the cathedral, to give the public greater access to it.

Iain Finlay, Adjutant NSW RSL Corps of Guards recited The Ode and Corporal Luke Glasson from the Australian Army Band, Sydney sounded the Last Post and after a period of silence, sounded Rouse. Corporal Glasson was under the direction of Warrant Officer Class One Rod Cornick OAM, Regimental Sergeant Major, Joint Ceremonial NSW of the Australian Army. Following the National Anthem, there was a Blessing and Dismissal by the Dean to conclude the Vespers.

This was the first time Solemn Vespers at St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney has been held to commemorate the Australians in the Battle of Fromelles. FFFAIF would like to express it appreciation to FFFAIF Member Alexander Weilsmann for organising the Solemn Vespers and to the Very Reverend Donald Richardson, Dean of St Mary’s Cathedral and St Mary’s Cathedral along with the NSW RSL Corps of Guards and the Joint Ceremonial Unit NSW of the Australian Army. Approximately 60 people participated in the Solemn Vespers.

  

Solemn Procession from the Archibald Fountain to the Anzac Memorial

The Families and Friends of the First AIF hosted the 101st Anniversary Commemoration of The Battle of Fromelles at The Anzac Memorial Hyde Park, Sydney on Tuesday 19 July 2017. On a warm sunny morning, the Commemoration was preceded by a Solemn Procession from the Archibald Fountain to the Anzac Memorial celebrating the bond between Australia and France in The Great War.

The Solemn Procession leaving the Archibald Fountain Image by Rob Tuckwell Photography

The Solemn Procession leaving the Archibald Fountain
Image by Rob Tuckwell Photography

The Solemn Procession was led by civic leaders and senior officers from military and civilian services. Following the Australian National Flag Party from the Australian Army were:

Professor the Hon. Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO and the President of FFFAIF, Jim Munro,
the British Consul-General Michael Ward and the Deputy Consul-General for the Republic of France M. Olivier Le Van Xieu,

Lt. General Kenneth Gillespie AC DSC CSM (Ret’d), Chair, NSW Centenary of Anzac Advisory Council and FFFAIF Committee member Jill Hayes,

Mrs Meg Green National President War Widows’ Guild of Australia and Mrs Rhondda Vanzella OAM President of War Widows’ Guild of Australia (NSW)

The Honourable David Elliott MP, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, representing the Premier of New South Wales

The Honourable Lynda Voltz MLC, Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs & Sport representing the Leader of the NSW Opposition

Mr. Bill Harrigan, State Councillor RSL NSW representing the State President, and Councillor Christine Forster, representing the City of Sydney

Brigadier Neil Sweeney Commander Headquarters 2nd Division, Brigadier Phil Moses Commander 8th Brigade and Brigadier Peter Connor representing Commander, Forces Command

Chaplain (GPCAPT) Peter Friend Air Command Australia and Captain Gavin Irwin Commander, Australian Fleet Command

A/ASST COMM Rick Griffiths Fire & Rescue NSW, Inspector Sean Heany NSW Police Force and Chief Supt Michael Bray NSW Ambulance

NSW Returned and Services League of Australia Corps of Guards

 They were supported by members of the French North African Veterans’ Association (the Association des Anciens Combatants Francais (NSW)) led by M Jean Louis Worobec and, Members of FFFAIF and Descendants’ organisations including The Fromelles Association, Australian World War One Descendants and Legacy as well as descendants of soldiers who participated in the Battle.

The Solemn Procession approaching the ANZAC Memorial with Association des Anciens Combatants Francais NSW & NSW RSL Corps of Guards. Image by Rob Tuckwell Photography

The Solemn Procession approaching the Anzac Memorial with Association des Anciens Combatants Francais NSW & NSW RSL Corps of Guards.
Image by Rob Tuckwell Photography

The procession travelled the distance of “400 yards”, equivalent to the widest part of “No-man’s land” on the Fromelles battlefield, and paid homage to the 5th Division veterans marching to the Anzac Memorial for the 50th anniversary commemoration in 1966. 

 Special thanks go to FFFAIF Member and Protocol Manager for the 101st Commemoration of the Battle of Fromelles, Alexander Weilsmann who co-ordinated many of the arrangements for the Procession including liaising with the NSW Police to ensure the security for the Procession and safe passage across Park Street and establishing the Order of Procession.

Commemoration of the 101st Anniversary of the Battle of Fromelles

The participants in the Solemn Procession were greeted by FFFAIF Commemorations Officer Margaret Snodgrass and joined those gathered at the Anzac Memorial including Anzac Centenary Ambassadors and the Trustees of the Anzac Memorial.

The Holy Family Choir Menai sang some Gathering songs and led more than 200 attendees in singing O Valiant Hearts, after which Master of Ceremonies, Darren Mitchell commenced the Commemoration.

The Prologue was delivered by the Hon. David Elliott MP, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, representing the Premier of New South Wales.

Pastor Bob Durbin led a prayer, followed by Brigadier Phil Moses Commander 8th Brigade of The Australian Army delivering the Commemorative Address. Brigadier Moses, whose family lost a relative killed in the Battle of Fromelles, Commands the 8th Brigade which first saw action in the Battle of Fromelles. He reflected on how moving an experience and how humbling it had been to participate in the Solemn Procession and the Commemoration and to reflect on the service and sacrifice of those soldiers who fought at Fromelles.

Brigadier Phil Moses, Commander 8th Brigade of The Australian Army delivering the Commemorative AddressFromelles_Sydney 19 Jul 2017_136 Web Russell Family Reflection Caroline, Cameron and Sophia Jeffries

Brigadier Phil Moses, Commander                           The Russell Family Reflection:
8th Brigade of The Australian Army                         Caroline, Cameron and Sophia Jeffries
delivering the Commemorative Address                      with Master of Ceremonies, Darren Mitchell                                               
   Images by Rob Tuckwell Photography                                                

An eloquent and moving Family Reflection was delivered for The Russell Family by Sophia and Cameron Jeffries conveying the impact on their family of having brothers Arthur and William Russell participating in the Battle of Fromelles with Arthur being killed in action and his body not recovered and William being wounded along with 65% of the 54th Battalions soldiers. William was sent to England to recover before returning to the Western Front in November 1916 and continued to serve with the 54th Battalion until September 1917 when he was killed in action during the battle of Polygon Woods. The discovery of Arthur’s grave at Pheasant Wood and his identification and re-burial with full military honours and their family visits to the battlefields with their “Pop” Adrian Russell had brought the family together. They were also proud they were to have The Russell Reserve at Rouse Hill commemorate the Russell Brothers.

Wreaths were laid while Piper Jim Braid played the Lament.

 Mr Michael Ward, British Consul General, on behalf of citizens of the United Kingdom Mr Olivier Le Van Xieu, Deputy Consul General of the Republic of France, on behalf of the citizens of France The Hon David Elliott, to lay a wreath on behalf of the citizens of NSW Images by Rob Tuckwell Photography

Mr Michael Ward, British Consul General, on behalf of citizens of the United Kingdom
Mr Olivier Le Van Xieu, Deputy Consul General of the Republic of France, on behalf of the citizens of France
The Hon David Elliott, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, representing the Premier of New South Wales on behalf of the citizens of NSW
Image by Rob Tuckwell Photography
Brigadier Phil Moses, Commander 8th Brigade of The Australian Army on behalf of the 8th Brigade Mr Jim Munro, President of the Families and Friends of the First AIF, accompanied by Mrs Margaret Snodgrass OAM, in tribute to the Fallen, together with Ms Julie Werner, Mr Rene Herbert and Ms Helen Carey, in memory of the Missing

Brigadier Phil Moses, Commander 8th Brigade of The Australian Army on behalf of the 8th Brigade
Mr Jim Munro, President of the Families and Friends of the First AIF, accompanied by Mrs Margaret Snodgrass OAM, in tribute to the Fallen, together with
Ms Julie Werner, Mr Rene Herbert and Ms Helen Carey, in memory of the Missing

 

Fromelles_Sydney 19 Jul 2017_247 web WreathesWreaths and floral tributes     Flag Party from HMAS Kuttabul and NSW RSL Corps of Guards Images by Rob Tuckwell Photography

Wreaths and floral tributes     Flag Party from HMAS Kuttabul and NSW RSL Corps of Guards
Images by Rob Tuckwell Photography
Cameron and Sophia Jeffries laying a tribute to Arthur and William Russell on behalf of the Russell Family Image by Rob Tuckwell Photography

Cameron and Sophia Jeffries laying a tribute to Arthur and William Russell on behalf of the Russell Family
Image by Rob Tuckwell Photography

Laying wreaths were:

The Hon David Elliott, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, representing the Premier of New South Wales laid a wreath on behalf of the citizens of NSW;
Mr Olivier Le Van Xieu, Deputy Consul General of the Republic of France, on behalf of the citizens of France and
Mr Michael Ward, British Consul General, on behalf of citizens of the United Kingdom

Mr Jim Munro, President of the Families and Friends of the First AIF, accompanied by Mrs Margaret Snodgrass OAM, in tribute to the Fallen;
Ms Julie Werner, Mr Rene Herbert and Ms Helen Carey, in memory of the Missing; and
Brigadier Phillip Moses, on behalf of the 8th Brigade.

For the Fifth Division of the AIF, Mr Bill Harrigan OAM, of the Returned and Services League of Australia (NSW Branch); and
on behalf of the War Widows Guild – State President Mrs Rhondda Vanzella OAM and National President, Mrs Meg Green

Representing the Leader of the Opposition in NSW – The Honourable Lynda Voltz MLC; and
City of Sydney Councilor Christine Forster

Representing Commander, Forces Command, Brigadier Peter Connor; and
Representing Fleet Commander, Captain Gavin Irwin ; and
Representing Air Commander Australia, Group Captain Peter Friend

Professor The Hon Dame Marie Bashir AD, CVO, together with
Mr Jean-Louis Worobec, President, and others from the French Veterans’ Association in NSW (Association des Anciens Combatants Francais (NSW))

Dr Patricia Jenkings, President of the United Nations Association, NSW; together with
Mr Geoffrey Benn on behalf of The Fromelles Association; and
Mr Hadyn White, on behalf of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs

On behalf of the NSW Association of Jewish Ex-Service Men and Women – Secretary, Mr Jon Green; together with
Mr Peter Allen, of the NAJEX Centenary Program; and
on behalf of Australian World War One Descendants – Vice President, Mr Greg Cowle and Mrs Karen Dawson

Representing the NSW Police Commissioner, to lay a wreath on behalf of the NSW Police Force – Inspector Sean Heaney, Sydney City LAC; and
Representing the NSW Ambulance Commissioner, to lay a wreath on behalf of NSW Ambulance – Chief Superintendent Michael Bray; and
Representing NSW Fire and Rescue – Acting Assistant Commissioner Mr Rick Griffiths

Rev Clare Percival, and Doug Percival, relatives of Private Thuillier Cardew, recently identified and whose gravestone was being dedicated that day at the Fromelles Military Cemetery in Pheasants Wood, France; together with
Ms Annette Tebb in memory of Ernest Jentsch

Cameron and Sophia Jeffries on behalf of the Russell Family in memory of Arthur and William Russell; and
Representing The National Servicemen’s Association NSW – Secretary Mr George Sachse, whose father served at Fromelles.

Lt. General Kenneth Gillespie AC DSC CSM (Ret’d), Chair, NSW Centenary of Anzac Advisory Council, reciting The Ode. In the background Piper Jim Braid and Eddie Claxton of the Fire and Rescue NSW Band. Image by Rob Tuckwell Photography

Lt. General Kenneth Gillespie AC DSC CSM (Ret’d), Chair, NSW Centenary of Anzac Advisory Council, reciting The Ode. In the background Piper Jim Braid and Eddie Claxton of the Fire and Rescue NSW Band.
Image by Rob Tuckwell Photography

The Ode was recited by Lt. General Kenneth Gillespie AC DSC CSM (Ret’d), Chair, NSW Centenary of Anzac Advisory Council before the Last Post was sounded by Eddie Claxton of the Fire and Rescue NSW Band followed by silence and The Rouse.

After a closing prayer and blessing, the Epilogue was delivered by President of FFFAIF, Jim Munro. Mr Munro recognised that:

“Our soldiers were young, enthusiastic and imbued with the spirit of mateship, but were no match for a well prepared and battle hardened enemy. Today we honour their service and sacrifice – they did what their country asked of them. Every Australian should be aware that the impact of good and bad decisions in war will impact down through the generations. The shattered families, the trauma and debilitating injuries that changed careers and opportunities, the disabled and institutionalised men who could barely play any part in the country that had asked them to give their all – we owe it to them and their families to honour their service and sacrifice” Mr Munro said.

He said he was particularly pleased to see that another of the soldiers reported as killed with no known grave has been identified and now has his own named headstone over his final resting place. There are still about 1,100 soldiers who were killed in the Battle of Fromelles and lie in un-named graves and Mr Munro called for all Australians who have a relative killed in the Battle of Fromelles to provide a DNA sample to the Unrecovered War Casualty Unit of the Army to help identify more of these men and help them get their identity back.

Fromelles_Sydney 19 Jul 2017_250 web French Dep C-G Olivier Le Van XieuPresident of FFFAIF, Jim Munro  Lt. General Kenneth Gillespie AC DSC CSM (Ret’d), Chair, NSW Centenary of Anzac Advisory Council Professor the Hon. Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO Image by Rob Tuckwell Photography

Deputy Consul-General for the Republic of France                                President of FFFAIF, Jim Munro
M. Oliviere Le Van Xieu delivering a Message from France                       Lt. General Kenneth Gillespie AC DSC CSM (Ret’d),
Chair, NSW Centenary of Anzac Advisory Council
Images by Rob Tuckwell Photography                                                                Professor the Hon. Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO

The Deputy Consul-General for the Republic of France, M. Olivier Le Van Xieu, delivered a Message from France, expressing appreciation for Australian support since The Great War and continuing today and the National Anthems of France, the United Kingdom and Australia were sung to close the commemoration. 

 

Special thanks go to the Trustees of the Anzac Memorial, their staff, and contractors for providing the marquees and sound system. The presence of the Holy Family Choir of Menai and the NSW RSL Corps of Guards and the Australian Army Flag Party, who along with the French Veterans of Association des Anciens Combatants Francais (NSW) contributed significantly to the solemnity and formality of the commemoration as did FFFAIF Member and Protocol Manager for the 101st Commemoration of the Battle of Fromelles, Alexander Weilsmann and FFFAIF Committee Member Jill Hayes. Photographer Rob Tuckwell created a good photographic record and Rosie Patrielli streamed parts of the service live to the Anzac Memorial’s Facebook page at facebook.com/AnzacMemorial.

 

Special thanks also to the Organising Committee of FFFAIF Members Margaret Snodgrass, Darren Mitchell and Alexander Weilsmann, Anzac Memorial Senior Operations Coordinator Belinda Mitrovich and Property Manager, Michael Trenear, Iain Finlay Adjutant and Pam Richardson Assistant Adjutant of the NSW RSL Corps of Guards, Warrant Officer Class One Rod Cornick OAM, Regimental Sergeant Major, Joint Ceremonial NSW of the Australian Army and Rosie Patrielli, Fundraising and Communications, Centenary of Anzac, Office for Veterans Affairs (NSW).

 

Jim Munro,
President, Families and Friends of the First AIF

 

Further photos

 

Fromelles Day Centenary Commemoration
19 July 2017
Anzac Memorial, Hyde Park Sydney

Professor the Hon. Dame Marie Bashir and FFFAIF president Jim Munro leading the Solemn Procession

Professor the Hon. Dame Marie Bashir and FFFAIF president Jim Munro leading the Solemn Procession

 

Coming soon

Fromelles Day Centenary Commemoration
19 July 201
Anzac Memorial, Hyde Park Sydney

 

Fromelles Day Centenary Commemoration
19 July 201
Anzac Memorial, Hyde Park Sydney

 

Coming soon

 

 Coming soon

 

Fromelles Day Centenary Commemoration
19 July 2017
Anzac Memorial, Hyde Park Sydney

 

 

 

Posted in Commemorations, Fromelles, The Western Front | Comments Off

Fromelles Day Commemorations, Wednesday 19 July

Fromelles Day Commemoration, Wednesday 19 July, Sydney

All FFFAIF members, friends and descendants and members of the public are invited to attend the Commemoration of the 101st anniversary of the Battle of Fromelles to be held at the ANZAC Memorial, Hyde Park in Sydney on Wednesday 19 July commencing at 10:45 for 11:00am. The commemoration is organised by FFFAIF in conjunction with the Trustees of the ANZAC Memorial to fulfil a commitment by the Trustees to the returned veterans of the 5th Division of the First AIF that their service and the sacrifice of their comrades on 19 July 1916 would always be officially remembered. The Battle of Fromelles was the first battle on the Western Front for the Australian Imperial Force and resulted in the largest loss of lives in any 24-hour period of Australia’s history.

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Fromelles Day Centenary Commemoration, 19 July 2016, ANZAC Memorial, Hyde Park Sydney

State President War Widows Guild Mrs Rhondda Vanzella OAM, Leader of the Opposition The Hon Luke Foley MP, Acting President, NSW RSL Mr. John Haines AM, FFFAIF President Jim Munro, Premier of NSW, the Hon Mike Baird, Ms Jill Hayes (FFFAIF), Major-General Gus Gilmore, AO, DSC, Professor the Hon. Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO, Minister for Veteran’s Affairs, The Hon David Elliott MP, and the Consul-General for the Republic of France, M. Nicolas Croizer, Pastor Bob Durbin and Mrs Margaret Snodgrass (FFFAIF).

The 11am Commemoration is preceded by a Solemn Procession from the Archibald Fountain to the ANZAC Memorial at 10:15am for 10:30 step-off. The Archibald Fountain in Hyde Park, unveiled in 1932, commemorates the bond between Australia and France during the Great War and the Procession to the ANZAC Memorial symbolizes the “400 yards”, equivalent to the widest part of “No-man’s land” on the Fromelles battlefield, and pays homage to the 5th Division veterans marching to the ANZAC Memorial for the 50th anniversary commemoration in 1966.

2016 07 19 Fromelles Day Sydney_0058 Solemn procession small cropped 2016 07 19 Fromelles Day Sydney_0086 Solemn procession small cropped 2016 07 19 Fromelles Day Sydney_0647 French veterans in procession small 

Invitations are also extended to attend Solemn Vespers in Commemorating the Australians in the Battle of Fromelles, to be held at St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney on Tuesday 18 July 2017 at 7.00pm. Note that this is the evening before the Solemn Procession and Commemoration. A wreath will be laid at the Statue in Memory of Fallen Soldiers completed by George Lambert in 1931. As Australia did not have an official tomb of the unknown soldier until 1993, George Lambert’s recumbent figure came to be known informally as Australia’s ‘Monument to the unknown soldier” . Located previously in the crypt, where it was touched in the evening by the setting sun, the memorial has now been moved into the aisle of the cathedral, to give the public greater access to it.

 2016 07 19 Fromelles Day Sydney_0321 wreath laying small cropped2016 07 19 Fromelles Day Sydney_0341 wreath laying small2016 07 19 Fromelles Day Sydney_0394 wreath laying small

Please RSVP to FFFAIF Commemorations Officer, Mrs Margaret Snodgrass OAM, margaret@forsyth.com.au or phone: (02) 9419 7411 if you wish to attend the Solemn Vespers, Solemn Procession or Commemoration.

 

Fromelles Day Commemoration, Wednesday 19 July, Melbourne

1:30pm Wreath Laying at the Cobbers Statue, Shrine of Remembrance

 July 2008 037_frev_sml

This is a joint service hosted by The Shrine of Remembrance and the Friends of the 15th Brigade to remember the 5533 Australians killed, wounded or captured during this disastrous 24-hour battle. 1:30 p.m. at the “Cobbers” statue.

Pozieres Day Commemoration, Sunday 23th July 2017, Sydney

The First Battalion Association is commemorating the 101st Anniversary of the Battle Pozieres at their annual service at Saint Columba Uniting Church corner Ocean and Forth Streets, Woollahra, 9:30am Sunday 23th July 2017.

2013-07-21 Pozieres Service Sydney 001a web  2013-07-21 Pozieres Service Sydney 010 web 2013-07-21 Pozieres Service Sydney 020a web

Posted in Commemorations, Fromelles, Melbourne, Pozieres, The Shrine | Comments Off

Return of the Menin Gate Lions to Ieper

Johan Durnez, Waregem, Belgium, with Geoff Lewis, Raglan.

Edited version of article in DIGGER 59

Anzac Day - 2017

Return of the Menin Gate Lions to Ieper
Click on the image and zoom in to see greater detail. [Photo from Defence Image Library]

‘It was wonderful to see the lions back on the place where they [had] been for so many years’  [Johan Durnez]. Long-time FFFAIF member, Belgian teacher Johan Durnez, has written a report on an important event held at Ieper in April. Any members who have visited the Western Front would have likely paid their respects at the nightly ceremony held at Menin Gate, which commemorates 54 900 men who lost their lives in the Ypres Salient and who have no known grave. Those who have not had this experience, but who have visited the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, would have paused to inspect the two guardian lions which sat inside the front entrance of the memorial. Recent visitors to the AWM may have noticed that the lions seem to have disappeared. Johan tells the story of the return of the lions to Ieper:

The Menin Gate, as we know it, was only built in 1927. The gate was originally erected in the 1660s and was the entrance to the city through the ramparts. The two lions were carved from sandstone sometime around 1822, and initially stood at the front door of the Cloth Hall. Later, they were moved to stand on either side of the thirteen metre wide road.  It  was through  this  gate  that  thousands  of  British  and Commonwealth soldiers passed on the way to war in the Ypres Sector from 1914 to 1918.

During the Great War, the city was extensively damaged by shell fire. The lions were not immune and fell from their brick plinths. It was reported that one had lost its right foreleg and was chipped along its back.  The other was much more extensively damaged and all that remained was a damaged head and a trunk down to just below its ribcage. Then they disappeared for some years. Somehow they had survived and, in 1936, the Mayor of Ypres donated the two lions to the Australian Memorial as a gesture of friendship.

In 1985, it was decided by the AWM to restore them; this took six years. The lions were then returned to their familiar places. In 2014, they were lent to the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa and returned nine months later.

Johan’s photo shows two covered plinths prior to their unveiling.

Lions return to Menin Gate 24 April 2017 DSCN0516 (Medium) Lions return to Menin Gate 24 April 2017 DSCN0518 (Medium)

Undercover Menin Lions [Photo by Johan Durnez]

The lions were unveiled in their original positions on 24 April, and will be on display until 11 November, after which they will be returned to Canberra.

Lions return to Menin Gate 24 April 2017 DSCN0636 (Medium)Anzac Day - 2017

The unveiling by Veterans Affairs Minister The Hon Dan Tehan
[Photos by Anny de Decker and Defence Image Library]

Lions return to Menin Gate 24 April 2017 DSCN0627 (Medium)Anzac Day - 2017

Veterans Affairs Minister The Hon Dan Tehan at the unveiling service and
Cpl Keighran VC reciting The Ode. [Photos by Anny de Decker & Defence Image Library]

Anzac Day - 2017Lions return to Menin Gate 24 April 2017 DSCN0666 (Medium)

The unveiling Menin Gate Lions
[Photos from Defence Image Library and by Anny de Decker]

FFFAIF were represented by two of our dedicated Belgian members, Anny De Decker and Marie Claire Sinnaeve [widow of Ivan aka ‘Shrapnel Charlie’], who arrived two hours early to get a good ‘possy’ at both the unveiling service and the Anzac Day service the next day.

Anzac Day - 2017

Returned Lions, poppies and dignitaries at the Menin Gate
Another great image to click on and zoom in for the detail [Photo: Defence Image Gallery]

The photos were taken by Anny de Decker at the unveiling service on 24 April, 2017 and supplemented with photos from the Defence Image Gallery.

More images can be seen at https://images.defence.gov.au/assets/archives/5003.

As there are thousands of photos, search for the photos taken on 24 April 2017 by searching for “20170424″. Photos of Tyne Cot and the Belgium Dawn Service may also be viewed.

Posted in Commemorations, DIGGER Magazine, Ieper/Ypres, The Western Front | Comments Off

Flanders Memorial Garden dedicated at the Australian War Memorial 4 April 2017

More than 6 000 Australian soldiers are buried in unknown graves in Flanders fields. Now there is a Flanders Memorial Garden at the Australian War Memorial containing soil from those battlefields, Flanders cemeteries and Australian places that the soldiers knew well.

 Flanders Memorial GardenFlanders Memorial Garden

Click on images to see more detail [Photos Jim Munro]

The new garden was dedicated on 4 April, 2017, in a poignant ceremony on a crisp Canberra morning.  FFFAIF Patron, His Excellency, General, The Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC and Mrs Cosgrove were special guests of the Chair of the AWM Council, Kerry Stokes AC and the Director of the AWM, Dr Brendan Nelson AO. FFFAIF President, Jim Munro, and Committee members Jill Hayes and Sue Tongue represented the FFFAIF.

Flanders soil was carried by the Federation Guard in 5 boxes constructed of Tasmanian Blackwood (the same timer used for the coffin of the Unknown Soldier) to lie near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier overnight. The soil was from Tyne Cot Cemetery, Menin Gate Ramparts, Polygon Wood, Toronto Avenue Cemetery and Hill 60.

Flanders Memorial Garden Dedication 4 Apr 2017 Smoking ceremony for Flanders soil boxes IMG_7862 Flanders Memorial Garden Dedication 4 Apr 2017 dappled light for smoking ceremony for Flanders soil boxes IMG_7862

There were many memorable parts of this event. The  welcome to country,  and later smoking ceremony, conducted by Ngunnawal Elder Tina Brown, created a profound sense of the importance of ground – Australia’s ancient land, the battlefields and the new garden.

The soil from Flanders was carried to the garden and deposited in the solemn ceremony.

Flanders Memorial Garden Dedication 4 Apr 2017 Mr Verlaeckt placing Flanders soil IMG_7866_MomentFlanders Memorial Garden Dedication 4 Apr 2017 Plaque IMG_7888

Mr Verlaeckt, The Secretary-General of the Flanders Department of Foreign Affairs placing some of the Flanders soil in the Memorial Garden – click on images to see more detail

The Australian soil was collected from sites of significance in each Australian state and territory and local timber of significance was used for the boxesin which it was carried. The soli was from:

  • The Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park, Garden Island and Victoria Barracks in NSW
  • Yamba Homestead in the Woden Valley and Jerrabomberra Wetlands (Duntroon Trench Warfare& Bombing School) in the ACT
  • Torrens Training Depot, the Outer Harbour and Keswick Barracks in South Australia
  • Fremantle Port, Albany and Blackboy Hill in Western Australia
  • Soldiers Memorial Avenue in Hobart and ‘Northallerton’ on King Island in Tasmania
  • Port of Darwin (East Port) in the Northern Territory
  • The Shrine of Remembrance and Maygar Barracks in Melbourne and the Avenue of Honour in Ballarat in Victoria
  • Warwick, Enoggera and Pinkenba in Queensland

Flanders Memorial Garden Dedication 4 Apr 2017 Aust soil boxes IMG_7877 Flanders Memorial Garden Dedication 4 Apr 2017 NSW soil box IMG_7880

Wing Commander Sharon Bown (Ret’d) recited McRae’s ‘In Flanders Fields’ poem with perfect pitch. Speeches that followed  – by the Director of the War Memorial and Governor-General – were particularly relevant. The Chief of Army read the Last Post reading of the day about the three Seabrook brothers, who were all killed at Passchendaele, within 24 hours of each other.

The music added to the occasion. The Band of RMC Duntroon performed and a musician sang the song ‘O Passchendaele’ by Garth Porter.

The Secretary-General of the Flanders Department of Foreign Affairs, Mr Verlaeckt, spoke about the connection between Flanders and Australia. He mentioned the need for places of reflection at this time. Then, as he ended his speech, a flock of white cockatoos flew overhead in the early morning sunlight, calling out agreement. Perhaps they knew about the soil contributed from their Jerrabombera wetlands, where the Duntroon trench warfare bombing school operated.

Sue Tongue

IMG_7892

Sue Tongue with Jill Hayes at the Flanders Memorial dedication. Photos by Jim Munro

To see the AWM posting on the Flanders Memorial Garden dedication click here or go to https://oldsite.awm.gov.au/1914-1918/flanders-memorial-garden/

Posted in Commemorations, Ieper/Ypres, Memorials, Passchendale, Polygon Wood, The Western Front, Uncategorized, Zonnebeke | Comments Off

More Tasmanian soldiers have their Great War service acknowledged

2017 03 31 Tas Headstone Project 8893 small

The Tasmanian Headstone Project  The Project commenced in 2012 when was discovered that there were a number of returned First World War veterans whose last resting place was no more than a dirt plot within the Cornelian Bay Cemetery located on the outskirts of the city of Hobart.  This meant that there was no monumental work or any other marker on their burial plot to indicate who is buried there.  To date 316 WWI unmarked graves have been identified.

On  31st March 2017, the Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Angus Campbell, DSC, AM unveiled a number of commemorative plaques on headstones recognising the service of soldiers, whose grave were previously unmarked.

2017 03 31 Tas Headstone Project 8979 small

Once again, the weather was kind and there were a good number of people in attendance. The unveilings went off with military precision thanks to the involvement of members of the 12/40th Battalion who provided a guard and sentries for each of the graves being unveiled.

2017 03 31 Tas Headstone Project 8996 small2017 03 31 Tas Headstone Project 8997 small

This brings the number of veterans who have had their service recognised to 158, leaving 158 still to be done.

Previously on 7 November 2016 an unveiling was a great success despite the less than ideal weather with a large attendance and good publicity. The speech given by Brendan Nelson, Director of the Australian WAR Memorial resonated with the 150 + attendees. There were several family in attendance, who greatly appreciated the recognition given to their forebears

 In June 2016 31 headstones were installed and unveiled and in May Lambis Englezos was the guest speaker at an unveiling. The aim is to complete Cornelian Bay Cemetery by Remembrance Day 2018.

FFFAIF supports the project through the provision of along with the State RSL Branch  and the Tasmanian Government and a number of suppliers who contribute materials and other forms of support – Millington Cemeteries, Cement Australia, Sika Australia and Clennett’s Mitre 10. Further donations and contributions would be welcome.

The Headstone Project is managed through a FFFAIF Sub-Committee, Chaired by Andrea Gerrard but has its own website at http://www.tasheadstoneproject.org/. Read the “About Us” section for an overview of the project – and feel proud of their achievements, or the more comprehensive report in the Members Area of the www.fffaif.org.au website.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Centenary of the Anzac Obelisk on ANZAC Parade, Moore Park Sydney 15 March 2017

 

Smoking ceremony for centenary of ANZAC Parade Obelisk

Smoking ceremony for centenary of ANZAC Parade Obelisk

The commemoration of the centenary of the Anzac Obelisk on Anzac Parade was held at Moore Park Sydney on Wednesday, 15 March 2017. Official Guests included the NSW Governor, His Excellency General, The Hon David Hurley AC, The Ministers for Veteran’s Affairs, David Elliott MP and Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey MP, Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Andrew Constance MP, The Dean of St Mary’s Cathedral, Rev. Donald Richardson (whose grandfather was an original ANZAC), Keith Payne VC, representatives of the military services and ex-service organisations and elders of the local Aboriginal Land Council. The RAN Band also participated. President Jim Munro and Commemorations Officer Margaret Snodgrass attended as did Member Darren Mitchell who attended in his role related to the Korean War Memorial.  Alexander Weilsmann, who assists FFFAIF with the Sydney Fromelles Day Commemoration Service was a key person in arranging for the Obelisk being refurbished, re-located and commemorated.

Subsequently, Randwick Council indicated that it was committed to build a similar Obelisk at the southern end of ANZAC Parade, as was envisaged a century ago.

Wreath laying by the NSW Governor, His Excellency General, The Hon David Hurley AC DSC and Mrs Hurley

Wreath laying by the NSW Governor, His Excellency General, The Hon David Hurley AC DSC and Mrs Hurley

NSW Government dedication plaque

NSW Government dedication plaque

Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Andrew Constance MP, Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey MP and Minister for Veteran’s Affairs, David Elliott MP at the ANZAC Parade Obelisk

Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Andrew Constance MP, Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey MP and Minister for Veteran’s Affairs, David Elliott MP at the ANZAC Parade Obelisk

Anzac Parade, had previously been known as Randwick Road, but was renamed to commemorate the route used by which the troops marched from their training camps at Kensington and Randwick to their place of embarkation at Woolloomooloo.

Embarkation Park, overlooking the wharves at Woolloomooloo

Embarkation Park, overlooking the wharves at Woolloomooloo

Posted in ANZAC Day, Commemorations | Comments Off