Fromelles Day Sydney 2018: Commemorative Procession from the Archibald Fountain to the Anzac Memorial and Commemorative Service

The Families and Friends of the First AIF in conjunction with the Trustees of the Anzac Memorial, hosted the Commemoration of the 102nd anniversary of the Battle of Fromelles at The Anzac Memorial Hyde Park, Sydney on Thursday 19 July 2018.

The Battle of Fromelles in northern France on 19-20 July 2016 was the first battle involving Australian troops on the Western Front following the withdrawal from Gallipoli. It was and remains the largest loss of Australian life in a 24-hour period with 1,917 killed or died of wounds, 3,416 wounded and 496 taken prisoner totalling 5,533 casualties. In 2008, the graves of 250 soldiers buried by the Germans after the battle were located and in 2010 reinterred in the new Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery and 159 of these soldiers have now been identified by name.

The Commemoration was preceded by a Commemorative Procession of about 90 people on a mild winter morning from the Archibald Fountain that commemorates the association of Australia and France in The Great War to the Anzac Memorial.

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_003 The Archibald Fountain celebrates the association between France and Australia

All images by Rob Tuckwell Photography – Click to enlarge

The Commemorative Procession re-enacts the veterans of the Australian 5th Division marching to the ANZAC Memorial on the 50th anniversary of the Battle to pass to the Trustees the responsibility for remembering their service and sacrifice and that of their fallen comrades in perpetuity.

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_014 Procession from Archibald Fountain

The Commemorative Procession leaving the Archibald Fountain.

The Commemorative 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:

The Hon Scott Farlow MLC, Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier in the Legislative Council and Jim Munro, President, Families and Friends of the First AIF

Michael Ward, Consul-General and Director-General of Trade & Investment for the United Kingdom and M. Pierre Bianconi, Deputy Consul-General for the Republic of France

The Honourable Lynda Voltz MLC, Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs & Sport representing the Leader of the NSW Opposition, an Anzac Memorial Trustee and Dr Patricia Jenkings, President United Nations Association of Australia (NSW)

Dr John Vallance, State Librarian and Chief Executive, State Library of NSW, an Anzac Memorial Trustee and Jill Hayes, FFFAIF Committee Member.

Meg Green, National President, War Widows’ Guild of Australia, and Dianne Vogt representing the President, NSW War Widows’ Guild of Australia.

Harry Allie BEM, Chair of the NSW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Veterans Commemoration Service Committee and Hadyn White representing the Deputy Commissioner NSW/ACT, Department of Veteran Affairs

Brigadier Neil Sweeney AM, Deputy Commander 2nd Division, representing Commander, Forces Command, The Australian Army and
Captain Amanda Garlick, Representative of Fleet Commander, RAN and
Group Captain ‘Chaplain’ Peter Friend representing Air Commander Australia, RAAF

Inspector Rob Winkler, Sydney City Police Area Command representing NSW Police and Superintendent Michael Bray, representing the NSW Ambulance Service and Deputy Commissioner Jim Hamilton, representing NSW Fire and Rescue.

They were supported by members of the NSW RSL Corps of Guards, French North African Veterans’ Association (the Association des Anciens Combattants Francais (NSW)) led by M Jean Louis Worobec and a Wreath Carrying Party from St Clare’s College, Waverley, including Kate O’Sullivan, Immi Barham, Lily Garrett, Kiara Odishu and Natalia Rey, with HSIE Coordinator, Kirstie Mason. Members of FFFAIF and Descendants’ organisations including The Fromelles Association, Australian World War One Descendants NAJEX (NSW Association of Jewish Service & Ex-Service Men & Women) and Legacy as well as descendants of soldiers who participated in the Battle.

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_032 Procession crossing Park St ANZ_Fromelles__2018_037 Procession crossing Park St Jim Munro, Scott Farlow, Lynda Voltz, Pierre Bianconi, Michael Ward, John Vallance ANZ_Fromelles__2018_047 Procession approaching Anzac Memorial Army Brig Sweeney RAN Capt Amanda Garlick, RAAF Group Capt Peter Friend ANZ_Fromelles__2018_061 Procession approaching Anzac Memorial Lynda Voltz, Pierre Bianconi, Jim Munro, Michael Ward

The Commemorative Procession approaching the Anzac Memorial with the Australian National Flag Party, Association des Anciens Combattants Francais (NSW) & NSW RSL Corps of Guards.  All images by Rob Tuckwell Photography – [Click on image to enlarge]

The procession symbolically represents the “400 yards”, 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 the Procession Marshall, Lt. Col. Paul Simadas RFD, Vice President Families and Friends of the First AIF and Chairman, Australian Branch, Western Front Association who co-ordinated many of the arrangements for the Procession including liaising with the NSW Police and City of Sydney Events Team to ensure the security for the Procession and safe passage across Park Street and establishing the Order of Procession.

 

Commemoration of the 102nd Anniversary of the Battle of Fromelles

At the Anzac Memorial, a further gathering of about the same size as the Procession, including descendants, Anzac Centenary Ambassadors and the Trustees of the Anzac Memorial listened to music played by the NSW Police Band led by Director of Music John Saunders and Nearer My God to Thee and Requiem for a Soldier sung by The Holy Family Choir Menai. Click here to see the Order of Service.

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_071 Holy Family Choir ANZ_Fromelles__2018_074 Holy Family Choir

The participants in the Commemorative Procession were greeted by FFFAIF Commemorations Officer Margaret Snodgrass supported by members of the NSW RSL Corps of Guards and after they were seated The Holy Family Choir Menai led more than 200 attendees in singing O Valiant Hearts. 

Master of Ceremonies, and FFFAIF Member Darren Mitchell welcomed guests and read 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. Click here to read the Vice Regal Message.

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_077 GuestsANZ_Fromelles__2018_075 MC Welcome

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 was invited to deliver an Acknowledgement of Country on behalf of Aboriginal elders.  You can hear Harry’s Acknowledgement of Country on the Anzac Memorial’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AnzacMemorial.

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_088 Harry Allie Acknowledgement to Country

The Prologue was delivered by The Hon Scott Farlow MLC, Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier in the Legislative Council representing the Premier of New South Wales and the Hon. David Elliott MP, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs. You can hear Scott’s Prologue on the Anzac Memorial’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AnzacMemorial.

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_098 Scott Farlow Prologue

Pastor Bob Durbin, Chaplain with RSL LifeCafe led a prayer, followed by the Holy Family Choir Menai leading the singing of Abide with Me.

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_106 Bob Durbin Prayer ANZ_Fromelles__2018_108 Holy Family Choir

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_114 Paul Simadas, Bob Durbin, Police, Fire & Ambulance

Brigadier Neil Sweeney AM, Deputy Commander 2nd Division, The Australian Army delivered the Commemorative Address giving some insights into the Battle of Fromelles and why it was a disaster and acknowledged how it had impacted upon many families. He also its reflected on its legacy, particularly for modern military leaders in areas such as assessing intelligence, identification and management of risks, the importance of communications, and welfare of serving military personnel and supporting them and their families both during and after their military service. You can hear Brigadier Sweeney’s Commemorative Address on the Anzac Memorial’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AnzacMemorial.

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_139 Brig Neil Sweeney Address ANZ_Fromelles__2018_143 john Clingan Family Reflection

Brigadier Neil Sweeney AM, Deputy Commander 2nd Division of The Australian Armydelivering the Commemorative Address The Clingan and Grogan Family ReflectionJohn Clingan

John Clingan delivered a unique Family Reflection for the Clingan and Grogan Families. John’s great uncle, Private Alexander Stanley Clingan 53rd Bn was Killed in Action at Fromelles, buried by the Germans after the battle and has been identified through DNA matching. John told of when, after he and his wife Dorothy had attended Alexander’s headstone dedication in 2010, they then went to VC Corner Cemetery and were separately looking through the list of names on the walls and Dorothy saw the name of her great uncle Sgt Vince Grogan, 60th Bn, also Killed in Action. Possibly the two great uncles met, Alexander from Waterloo in Sydney and Vince from Bairnsdale, Victoria, possibly not, but their descendants did, fell in love and have raised their children and now have a unique Fromelles connection. Vincent is also on the list of those soldiers buried by the Germans near Pheasant Wood and so the family is now trying to find suitable DNA donors.
You can hear John’s Family reflection on the Anzac Memorial’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AnzacMemorial.

In a small world co-incidence, the Master of Ceremonies for the Dedication of 9 newly named headstones and the Commemoration at Fromelles in France later that day was John’s cousin Colonel Scott Clingan, Australian Defence Attache – Commemorations, at the Australian Embassy in Paris.

Wreaths were laid while Piper Jim Braid played the Lament, alternating with the NSW Police Band. Jim Braid is a relative of Sgt James Dodd 53rd Bn and Pte Downie Dodd 56th Bn KIA at Fromelles.

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_260 Bugler Terry McCleary & Piper Jim BraidANZ_Fromelles__2018_308 NSW Police Band

Piper Jim Braid played the Lament, alternating with the NSW Police Band During the wreath-laying

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_151 French Dep C-G Pierre Bianconi, NSW Govt Scott Farlow, British C-G Michael Ward Wreath layingANZ_Fromelles__2018_156 French Dep C-G Pierre Bianconi, NSW Govt Scott Farlow, British C-G Michael Ward Wreath laying

M. Pierre Bianconi, Deputy Consul-General for the Republic of France lays a wreath on behalf of the citizens of France, with The Hon Scott Farlow MLC, Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier in the Legislative Council representing the Premier of New South Wales and Minister for Veterans’ Affairs lays a wreath on behalf of the citizens of NSW, andMichael Ward, British Consul General and Director General of Trade & Investment, on behalf of citizens of the United Kingdom.
 ANZ_Fromelles__2018_161 Wreath laying For the Fallen, For the Missing and Trustees
Margaret Snodgrass OAM Committee Member accompanied by Jim Munro, President, Families and Friends of the First AIF, in tribute to the Fallen, together with
Julie Werner and grand-daughter Freya Shadbolt descendants of Pte Francis Walter McKay, 14 AMGC KIA at Fromelles and Helen Carey a relative of brothers Jack and Tim Carey,53 Bn, both KIA at Fromelles laying a wreath in memory of the Missing, and Dr John Vallance, State Librarian on behalf of the Anzac Memorial Trustees laying a wreath for the Fifth Division of the AIF.
ANZ_Fromelles__2018_170 Wreath laying War Widows Meg Green & Dianne Vogt, Opposition Lynda VoltzANZ_Fromelles__2018_176 Wreath laying War Widows Meg Green & Dianne VogtANZ_Fromelles__2018_178 Wreath laying Opposition Lynda Voltz
On behalf of the War Widows’ Guild, National President, Meg Green accompanied by State President’s Representative, Dianne Vogt, along with
The Honourable Lynda Voltz MLC, Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs & Sport, Representing the Leader of the NSW Opposition.
 ANZ_Fromelles__2018_183 Wreath laying French War Veterans Jean-Louis WorobecANZ_Fromelles__2018_186 Wreath laying French War Veterans Jean-Louis Worobec
M. Jean-Louis Worobec, Président Association des Anciens Combattants Francais de Nouvelle Galles du Sud laying a wreath on behalf of French War Veterans of NSW
ANZ_Fromelles__2018_190 Wreath laying RAN Capt Amanda Garlick, RAAF Group Capt Peter Friend, Army Brig Neil Sweeney ANZ_Fromelles__2018_198 Wreath laying RAN Capt Amanda Garlick, RAAF Group Capt Peter Friend, Army Brig Neil Sweeney
Captain Amanda Garlick representing Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead AM, Commander, Australian Fleet, laying a wreath on behalf of the Royal Australian Navy;
Group Captain ‘Chaplain’ Peter Friend, Representing AVM Steven Roberton DSC AM, Air Commander Australia, laying a wreath on behalf of the Royal Australian Air Force; and
BRIG Neil Sweeney AM, Deputy Commander 2nd Division representing Major General F McLachlan AM, Commander Forces Command, laying a wreath on behalf of The Australian Army
ANZ_Fromelles__2018_200 Wreath laying UNAA Patricia Jenkings, Fromelles Assn Marjorie Manns, Royce AtkinsonANZ_Fromelles__2018_210 Wreath laying DVA Hadyn WhiteANZ_Fromelles__2018_208 Wreath laying DVA Hadyn White, UNAA Patricia Jenkings, Fromelles Assn Marjorie Manns, Royce Atkinson
Dr Patricia Jenkings, President, United Nations Association of Australia (NSW), together with
Marjorie Manns and Royce Atkinson, President, The Fromelles Association, and
Hadyn White, on behalf of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs
ANZ_Fromelles__2018_215 Wreath laying NAJEX Roger Selby & Peter Allen, AWWOD Arlene RonsisvalleANZ_Fromelles__2018_217 Wreath laying NAJEX Roger Selby & Peter Allen, AWWOD Arlene Ronsisvalle
Roger Selby, President, NSW Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen & Women (NAJEX), together with
Peter Allen, with a tribute from the Centenary of ANZAC Jewish Program for the Anzac Memorial, and
Arline Ronsisvalle with a floral tribute on behalf of Australian World War One Descendants (AWWOD)
ANZ_Fromelles__2018_219 Wreath laying Police Insp Rob Winkler, Fire & Rescue DepComm Jim Hamilton & Ambulance Supt Michael BrayANZ_Fromelles__2018_226 Wreath laying Police Insp Rob Winkler, Fire & Rescue DepComm Jim Hamilton & Ambulance Supt Michael Bray
Inspector Rob Winkler, Sydney City Police Area Command, representing the NSW Police Force, together with Deputy Commissioner Jim Hamilton representing NSW Fire and Rescue and
Superintendent Michael Bray representing the NSW Ambulance Service
ANZ_Fromelles__2018_228 John Clingan & Trevor McWhirter Wreath layingANZ_Fromelles__2018_231 John Clingan & Trevor McWhirter Wreath laying
John Clingan and Trevor McWhirter for Pte. Alexander Stanley Clingan 53rd Bn and Sgt Vincent Grogan, 60th Bn both KIA at Fromelles
ANZ_Fromelles__2018_234 Geoff Horsnell, Terry-Ann O'Neill, Annett Wright, Robert Bolt & Ann Asciak Wreath layingANZ_Fromelles__2018_237 Geoff Horsnell, Terry-Ann ONeill, Anett Wright, Robert Bolt & Ann Asciak Wreath laying
Geoff Horsnell for Pte Frederick Dyson 54 Bn KIA Fromelles;
Terry-Anne O’Neill for Pte Paddy Ravaillion and 53rd Bn;
Annette Wright and Robert Bolt for Cpl “Nutsy” Herbert Bolt, 55 Bn, KIA at Fromelles; and
Ann Asciak, for George Edward Bonney, 32nd Bn
ANZ_Fromelles__2018_239 St Clare's College & Sophia and Cameron Jeffries Wreath laying ANZ_Fromelles__2018_249 Michael Sharkey & St Clare's College & Sophia and Cameron Jeffries Wreath laying
Michael Sharkey for Pte Edward Sharkey 53rd Bn,
Year 9 students at St Clare’s College, Waverley, Kate O’Sullivan, Lily Garrett, Kiara Odishu and Natalia Rey; and
Sophia and Cameron Jeffries laying a tribute to Arthur and William Russell on behalf of the Russell Family

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_259 St Clare's College Immi Barham Ode ANZ_Fromelles__2018_261 Bugler Terry McCleary Last PostANZ_Fromelles__2018_266 Army Flag orderlies

Miss Immi Barham, St Clare’s College, Waverley, reciting The Ode. The Last Post was sounded by Bugler Terry McCleary of the Fire and Rescue NSW Band. Flag Orderlies from The Australian Army

The Ode was recited by Miss Immi Barham, St Clare’s College, Waverley before the Last Post was played by Terry McCleary of the Fire and Rescue NSW Band followed by silence and The Rouse.  Terry’s wife Leonie is a relative of Capt Archibald Gunter MC 54th Bn, Wounded at Fromelles. You can hear The Ode and Last Post sounded on the Anzac Memorial’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AnzacMemorial.

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_306 Navy Flag orderlies ANZ_Fromelles__2018_265 ANZ_Fromelles__2018_307 Navy Flag orderlies

Flag Orderlies from The Royal Australian Navy

The Choir and the Police Band led the singing of I Vow to Thee My Country before a closing prayer and blessing from Pastor Bob Durbin.

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_273 Bob Durbin Prayer ANZ_Fromelles__2018_283 Jim Munro Epilogue

The Epilogue was delivered by President of FFFAIF, Jim Munro. Mr Munro recognised that:

“Today we honour the service and sacrifice of those who fought in the Battle of Fromelles – they did what their country asked of them. They had little or no experience in trench warfare, they had not worn steel hats before. They were keen to gain experiences and reputations that would leave the disappointment of Gallipoli behind. They now had their own commanders, who were somewhat experience; they now had artillery, although it had little experience; and they had their own machine guns. It is these ordinary men, with their aspirations and enthusiasm that we honour today – 102 years after they went into battle– we owe it to them and their families to honour their service and sacrifice”.

It is also 86 years ago today that the Foundation Stones were laid for this Anzac Memorial in 1932. – one by a soldier (Sir Phillip Game, the Governor of NSW) and the other by a citizen (Bertram Stevens, the Premier of New South Wales) to highlight the loss to the community inflicted by the Great War.  Mr Munro invited all those who attended today to return on this day next year to show that this loss is not forgotten.

He said he was particularly pleased to see that another nine (9) of the soldiers reported as killed with no known grave have been identified and now have their own named headstone over their 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.

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_303 Pierre Bianconi Message from France ANZ_Fromelles__2018_302 Pierre Bianconi Message from France

Deputy Consul-General for the Republic of France, M. Pierre Bianconi, delivering a Message from France

The Deputy Consul-General for the Republic of France, M. Pierre Bianconi, 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. You can hear The Message from France and the National Anthems  on the Anzac Memorial’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AnzacMemorial.

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_310 National Anthems NSW Police Band ANZ_Fromelles__2018_314 National Anthems Jim Munro, Scott Farlow, Michael Ward, Royce AtkinsonANZ_Fromelles__2018_315 National Anthems Police Insp Rob Winkler, Fire & Rescue DepComm Jim Hamilton & Ambulance Supt Michael Bray

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 Pastor Bob Durbin, Holy Family Choir of Menai, the NSW Police Band and the NSW RSL Corps of Guards and the Australian Army Flag Party and the Flag Orderlies from Army and Navy, who along with the French War Veterans contributed significantly to the formality and dignity of the commemoration. Special Guests Harry Allie BEM, The Hon Scott Farlow MLC, Brigadier Neil Sweeney AM, John Clingan, and Miss Immi Barham and Deputy Consul-General Pierre Bianconi enriched the Commemoration. Procession Marshall Paul Simadas, Master of Ceremonies Darren Mitchell and FFFAIF Committee Members Margaret Snodgrass and Jill Hayes helped the Commemoration run smoothly. 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, which are still available for viewing.

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_325 Brig Neil Sweeney with WO1 One Rod Cornick, Regimental Sergeant Major, Joint CeremonialANZ_Fromelles__2018_318 French Deputy Consul-General Pierre Bianconi with French War Veterans of NSW

Brigadier Neil Sweeney AM and                        Deputy Consul-General Pierre Bianconi and
Warrant Officer Class One Rod Cornick OAM                                   the French War Veterans

 

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_323 French Deputy Consul-General Pierre Bianconi with Belinda Mitrovich, Anzac Memorial Operations ManagerANZ_Fromelles__2018_317 Bugler Terry McCleary with Piper Jim Braid

Deputy Consul-General Pierre Bianconi and      Bugler Terry McCleary and Piper Jim Braid
Anzac Memorial Senior Operations Co-ordinator Belinda Mitrovich

ANZ_Fromelles__2018_008 Procession Marshall Paul SimadasANZ_Fromelles__2018_084 Welcome by Master of Ceremonies Darren Mitchell

Procession Marshall Paul Simadas and Master of Ceremonies Darren Mitchell

Special thanks also to the Organising Committee of FFFAIF Members Margaret Snodgrass OAM, Darren Mitchell, Jill Hayes, Paul Simadas, Geoff Lewis and Royce Atkinson, Anzac Memorial Senior Operations Coordinator Belinda Mitrovich and Property Manager, Michael Trenear, Iain Finlay Adjutant and Pam Richardson OAM, 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 of FFFAIF
July 2018

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Headstone Rededication and Commemoration at Fromelles 19 July 2018

On a very hot and sunny day, the Headstone Rededication and Commemoration of the Battle of Fromelles was held at Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery. The Service on Thursday 19 July commenced at 6pm, exactly 102 years after the scheduled time that the 5th Australian Division and 61st British Division attacked the German lines.  

2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0346 Flag Bearers copped

French Flag-bearers honour the Australian and British soldiers in the Battle of Fromelles.
All photographs by Carole Laignel, unless otherwise acknowledged
[Click on images to enlarge]

2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0381 Dignitaries & Geoffrey Benn

Dignitaries and descendants enter Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery

2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0400 Catafalque Party

The Catafalque Party enters the Cemetery passing covered Headstones to be rededicated.

2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0420 Catafalque Party

Master of Ceremonies, Colonel Scott Clingan, Australian Defence Attache- Commemorations, Ms Jennifer Stephenson, First Secretary, Department of Veterans Affairs and Mayor Ms. Jean-Gabriel Masson welcomed dignitaries and guests.

Colonel Scott Clingan is a descendant of Private Alexander Clingan KIA 19 July and buried in Section 3, Row E, Grave 8. Col. Clingan’s cousin, John Clingan delivered the Family Reflection at the Sydney Fromelles Day Commemoration a few hours earlier.

After an Opening Prayer by Father Patrick Irwin and a Commemorative Address by the representative of the French Government, The Australian Ambassador to France, H. E. Brendan Berne gave his Commemorative Address, which is included with the Order of Service. Click here to see the Order of Service.

The Official wreath-laying followed.

2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0475 Martial Delebarre, Jean Marie Bailleul & Pierre Sellier & Geoffrey Benn

Wreath-laying by Martial Delebarre, Jean Marie Bailleul & Pierre Sellier & Geoffrey Benn

2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 06842018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0701

Wreaths laid at the Cross of Sacrifice.

The Headstone rededications followed for the 9 Australian Soldiers who fought in the Battle of Fromelles in France and were formally identified at the 2018 Fromelles Identification Board in April.

Captain Kenneth Malcolm MORTIMER, 29 Bn

2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0502 Pte J Smith, Capt K Mortimer, Pte S O'Donnell & Pte W Boyce2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0509 Capt K Mortimer

Headstone Dedications – Pte. J Smith and Capt K Mortimer. Awaiting Pte. S O’Donnell & Pte W Boyce [Click on images to enlarge]

2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0513 Pte J Smith & Capt K Mortimer2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0518 Pte Smith

Headstone Dedication Pte. J. Smith and Capt K Mortimer.
[Click on images to enlarge]

2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0519 Headstone Pte J Smith & Capt K Mortimer

Headstones Pte. J. Smith and Capt K Mortimer.
[Click on images to enlarge]

Private Henry BELL, 29 Bn

Henry (known as Harry) Bell was featured in Seeking Harry Bell, posted 11 July 2008.  This relates the many heart-felt letters from the Bell family seeking information about Harry . Harry Bell was a 39 year old insurance agent when he enlisted in the AIF on 8th July 1915 at Bendigo, in country Victoria. He was a prominent member of the Bendigo community having been the Secretary of the Bendigo Rose Society and a member of the organising committee for the Bendigo Egg Laying Competitions. Harry & Dorothy Bell were married shortly before his enlistment and embarkation aboard HMAT Ascanius from Melbourne in November 1915.

A decade ago, the Families and Friends of the First AIF was advocating that the Australian Government through the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs should commit the to re-burial of the “missing of Fromelles” with individual graves and headstones in a new Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery at Pheasant Wood after DNA testing. A decade later, it is pleasing that DNA testing has enabled Harry’s relatives to help his identity to be restored, along with many of his comrades and that Harry and his comrades has been honoured with a reburial with full military honours and individual headstones.

2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0544 Headstone Pte H Bell

Photo: Private Henry Bell [AWM DA09996] and his Headstone
This photo of Harry has been reproduced with the permission of the Australian War Memorial

Private William Edwin BOYCE, 32Bn

2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0498 Pte W Boyce2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0541 Pte S O'Donnell & Pte W Boyce

Headstone Dedication – Pte W. Boyce
[Click on images to enlarge]

Private Henry GARDNER, 30 Bn

2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0527 Pte H Gardner2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0532 Headstone Pte H Gardner - Copy

Headstone Dedication – Pte H Gardner

Private Alexander McCULLOCH, 32 Bn

2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0547 Pte Alex McCulloch and Geoffrey Benn 2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0550 Pte Alex McCulloch and Geoffrey Benn 2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0552 Pte Alex McCulloch and Geoffrey Benn 2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0554 Pte Alex McCulloch and Geoffrey Benn

Headstone Dedication -Pte Alexander McCulloch with Geoffrey Benn
[Click on images to enlarge]

2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0578 Pte Alex McCulloch and Geoffrey Benn 2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0584 Headstone Pte Alex McCulloch2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0581 Pte Alex McCulloch and Geoffrey Benn 2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0583 Pte Alex McCulloch and Geoffrey Benn

Headstone Dedication -Pte Alexander McCulloch with Geoffrey Benn
[Click on images to enlarge]

Private Stanley Richard O’DONNELL, 29 Bn

2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0541 Pte S O'Donnell & Pte W Boyce2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0542 Headstone Pte S O'Donnell - Copy

Headstone Dedications Pte S O’Donnell & Pte W Boyce

Private James Robert SMITH, 31 Bn

2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0502 Pte J Smith, Capt K Mortimer, Pte S O'Donnell & Pte W Boyce 2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0511 Pte J Smith

 Headstone Dedication Pte. J. Smith
[Click on images to enlarge]

 2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0513 Pte J Smith & Capt K Mortimer2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0518 Pte Smith

Headstone Dedication Pte. J. Smith
[Click on images to enlarge]

 Corporal Alfred THOMPSON, 55 Bn

2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0545 Pte A Thompson - Copy

Location of headstone of Cpl A Thompson – no photos of dedication available as yet
[Click on images to enlarge].

Private Claude YEO , 30 Bn

2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0500 Pte Yeo & Pte H Gardner 2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0481 Pte Yeo headstone - Geoffrey Benn

Location of headstone of Pte. C Yeo – no photos of dedication or headstone available as yet
[Click on images to enlarge].

 Following the headstone rededications, The Ode was recited, The Lasat Post sounded, followed by a minute’s silence and the Rouse sounded.

The National Anthems of France, Germany, The United Kingdom and Australia were played before a final prayer. The Flag Bearers and Official party then departed.

2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 06292018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0648

Descendants and guests mingled throughout the cemetery, paying their respects to individual soldiers.

2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 06472018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0645

[Click on images to enlarge].

  As the sun set over the battlefield of 102 years ago and the war graves at Fromelles ….

2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 06912018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0702

 At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Lest we forget

2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0701

Thank you to Carole Laignel for her photographs and the copy of the Order of Service and for the welcome she gives to Australian visitors to Fromelles.

Thanks also to the Mayor and residents of Fromelles
for caring for our Australian soldiers lost so far from home,
and to the CWGC staff for caring for the graves of all Australian soldiers
buried across the globe.

 

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Fromelles Association AGM 10:30am Sunday 29 July 2018 at Castle Hill RSL Club

2018 07 19 Fromelles Dedication - 0400 Catafalque Party

Nine Australian Soldiers who fought in the Battle of Fromelles in France were formally identified at the 2018 Fromelles Identification Board in April. In its announcement, The Australian Army acknowledged the work of The Fromelles Association of Australia, the original Fromelles project team and the forensic specialists who all worked and contributed to these outcomes.

Guests of Honour at the Fromelles Association AGM will be from The Australian Army Unrecovered War Casualties, Fromelles Project Team, and there will be an update on the quest to find identities for all those recovered from the ground at Pheasant Wood.

The Fromelles Association of Australia invites those with an interest in the Battle of Fromelles to its Annual General Meeting on Sunday 29 July 2018 at Castle Hill RSL Club, 77 Castle Street, Castle Hill.

There will also be guests invited to share in various aspects of the Fromelles discovery, and There will also be discussion of the content for inclusion in the Association’s recently created web-site: www.fromellesremembered.wordpress.com.

Come along, bring your friends, enjoy the sharing of information on the day.

Phone: (02) 8858 4800. Gold Coin Donation to defray costs.

Arrive by 10.30 am for an 11.00am start.

Membership is still $5.00 for individuals, or $10.00 for families (children under 18).

RSVP: Royce Atkinson, President: royceatkinson@hotmail.com or 02.4975 3563

Or:

Geoffrey Benn, Secretary: gvb456@gmail.com, or 0408 219636

The Fromelles Association of Australia objectives are:

  • To champion the Sacrifice of the Soldiers who served at Fromelles, and their families.
  • To promote, encourage, and document research designed to identify the missing soldiers of the Battle of Fromelles.
  • To forge strong relationships with organisations and people interested in the Battle of Fromelles, especially families of soldiers, the Australian Army, and the citizens of Fromelles.

 

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Sydney Commemorative Service for the Battle of Pozieres

During The Battle of Pozieres, from 23 July 1916 until 7 August 1916, the AIF suffered enormous losses. Charles  Bean, Australia’s  official war historian described the Pozieres ridge as being more densely sown with Australian sacrifice than any other place on earth.

The First Battalion Association will hold its annual commemorative service at Saint Columbo Uniting Church, on the corner of Ocean and Forth Street, Woollahra on Sunday 22nd July at 9:30am.

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Photo: The Scots College Pipes and Drums 2013

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Photo: The Queen’s and Regimental Colours of the First Battalion enter the church carried by the Colour Party of the RNSWR

 

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Photo: The Queen’s and Regimental Colours of the First Battalion are laid upon the altar during the service along with the Australian and 1st Bn Association flags and the Pozieres Cross and 1st Battalion AIF flags.

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Commemoration of the Battle of Fromelles, Thursday 19 July 2018

Thursday 19 July is the 102nd anniversary of the Battle of Fromelles in northern France, the first battle involving Australian troops on the Western Front following the withdrawal from Gallipoli. It was and remains the largest loss of Australian life in a 24-hour period with 1,917 killed or died of wounds, 3,416 wounded and 496 taken prisoner totalling 5,533 casualties. Relatives of soldiers who participated in the Battle will be among those attending Commemorative Services for the Battle of Fromelles to be held at Fromelles, Melbourne as well as Sydney.

Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Cemetery_website 

In 2008, the graves of 250 soldiers buried by the Germans after the battle were located and in 2010 reinterred in the new Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery and 159 of these soldiers have now been identified by name. There will be a Commemoration at the Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery where another 9 named headstones will be dedicated. The names of a further 71 soldiers thought to be buried in the Cemetery are known along with 20 of their fallen comrades whose identity is not yet clear. Anyone who believes that they are related to one of the Australian soldiers who are still missing from the Battle of Fromelles are asked to register their details with Unrecovered War Casualties – Army at www.army.gov.au/uwca or by calling toll-free in Australia on 1800 019 090 (9-5 Mon – Friday).

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 In Melbourne, there will be a Wreath Laying at the Cobbers Memorial at the Shrine of Remembrance at 1:30pm on 19 July 2018 organised by the Friends of the 15th Brigade.

 

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

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

In Sydney there will be a Commemorative Procession in Hyde Park, assembling at 10:10am, departing at 10:30 from the Archibald Fountain which celebrates the bond between Australia and France in The Great War to the Anzac Memorial. The Procession re-enacts the final march of the veterans of the 5th Division 52 years ago on the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Fromelles in 1966 to the Anzac Memorial to request that the Trustees of the Anzac Memorial always remember their service and the sacrifice of their comrades on 19 July 1916. It also symbolically represents crossing “No-man’s land” of up to “400 yards” on the Fromelles battlefield. Descendants of these veterans and their fallen colleagues have been invited. The Commemoration will be held at 10:45 for 11:00 am and conclude at 12 noon. If you wish to participate in the Sydney Commemoration, please RSVP to rsvp@fffaif.org.au.

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

Those unable to participate in the Commemorations in person, are invited to watch the Sydney Commemorative Procession and Commemoration streamed live and available for viewing later on the Anzac Memorial’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AnzacMemorial. Go to www.facebook.com, and search for Anzacmemorial, choose Anzac Memorial

As we Keep The Memory Alive

Jim Munro
President

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Bastille Day Community Celebration Saturday 14 July 2018 La Perouse Museum & Grounds

Saturday 14 July 2018

9:30am – 2pm

Location
La Perouse Museum & Grounds
Address
1542 Anzac Parade, La Perouse

Come and celebrate Bastille Day, the French National Day with historical re-enactments, food and drink stalls, live entertainment and fun activities for the whole family.

Cost
Free Admission
Email
events@randwick.nsw.gov.au

 

The French National Day will be marked with a wreath-laying ceremony and historical re-enactments, including the firing of two cannons, as well as entertainment provided by Paris-based, Australian jazz musician Chris Cody and his band.

The grounds of the Museum will feature traditional lawn games, croquet and petanque, and children can participate in a Parisian-style art lesson while audiences are entertained by a wandering accordion player.

Members of the public are invited to visit the La Perouse Museum, which contains original maps, antique scientific instruments and relics recovered from the wrecks of La Perouse’s frigates Boussole and Astrolabe.

The Museum is now open four days a week from 10am, with free entry.

Fromelles Manor_website

 

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“Fromelles Family” Gathering, Sydney, Saturday 23 June 2018

More than 70 descendants of soldiers who fought in the Battle of Fromelles, members of the Families and Friends of the First AIF, the Fromelles Association, the Australian Branch of the Western Front Association and World War One Descendants gathered at Club York, 99 York St, Sydney to say G’day and Thank you to some of the key people in the Fromelles story who have been involved in raising awareness of the Battle of Fromelles, the search for soldiers who were buried by the Germans after the Battle, and the campaign for their location, investigation, exhumation, and reinterment in the Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery, or the on-going quest to identify these soldiers and honour each of them with a named headstone.

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  Special guests included:

Lambis Englezos at Pheasant WoodRay Martin bookFromelles-04-Patrick Lindsay, Chris Bryett & Fromelles Book 2007 cropped

Lambis Englezos                                    Ray Martin                         Patrick Lindsay and Chris Bryett

Lambis Englezos AM who identified that the number of Australian soldiers killed in the battle did not match the number of soldiers buried by British and Australian forces in named and un-named graves and that some burial locations were therefore “missing”. It was the start of his quest to locate and honour these men.

Ray Martin AM whose 2006 story on the Battle of Fromelles on 60 Minutes featured FFFAIF’s French Member Yves Fohlen, which had such an impact that Ray has included it in his autobiographical Stories of my Life.

Chris Bryett, founder of Recovering Overseas Australian Missing (ROAM) who advocated for DNA testing and formed a privately funded team of internationally recognised experts to investigate the Pheasant Wood location.

Patrick Lindsay AM whose book Fromelles, published in 2007 did much to raise awareness of the research and campaigning of Lambis Englezos and his team and Chris Bryett with ROAM for the investigation of the “missing” soldiers of the Battle of Fromelles.

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Prof Tony Pollard, MAJGEN Mike O’Brien, Dr Denise Donlon, Peter Barton, MAJGEN Paul Stevens

Prof Bruce Scates, Lambis Englezos, Sandra Playle, Tim Lycett, Tim Whitford, Jim Munro

Professor Tony Pollard, who headed the Glasgow University Archaeological Research Department Team that was commissioned to undertake the non-invasive investigation in 2008 that confirmed the likelihood of soldiers remains in burial pits near Pheasant Wood.

Professor Bruce Scates, who was a member of the Panel of Investigation and participated in the Historians Round Table that helped establish the “Working List” of names of soldiers who might have been buried at Pheasant Wood.

Tim Lycett, who with Sandra Playle set up the Fromelles Descendants Database and participated in the Historians Round Table that helped establish the “Working List” of names of soldiers who might have been buried at Pheasant Wood. Tim and Sandra, with a network of researchers traced family trees, identified descendants and found photographs for many of the “Missing of Fromelles”. Their book, Fromelles: The Final Chapters tells the story of their quest to restore the identities of the “lost” diggers of Fromelles, using fragments of information, military records, DNA, genealogy and persistence.

1 Fromelles 14 Richard Wright and Ambika Flavel June 2009Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Cemetery_website

Prof. Richard Wright and Ambika Flavel       Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery

Professor Richard Wright AM, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at the University of Sydney, Senior Forensic Adviser to Oxford Archaeology during the Pheasant Wood mass graves exhumation and investigation at Fromelles.

Royce Atkinson, President of the Fromelles Association, leading continuing efforts to trace relatives whose DNA might match that extracted from the soldiers re-interred at Fromelles and thereby help identify more of them individually.

 

FFFAIF President Jim Munro welcomed the members of the broad “Fromelles Family” and after paying tribute to the late Neville Kidd, recited an extract taken from Laurence Binyon’s “For the Fallen” as an Ode of Remembrance taken. Jim then outlined the background to the Battle of Fromelles and the reasons for its failure.

Patrick Lindsay took on the role of story teller and introduced Lambis Englzos who explained why he thought there were Australian soldiers killed in the Battle but not accounted for in burial records and told of his quest to identify these men and find their location. To help convince The Australian Government to investigate his claims, Lambis sought to raise public awareness through the media, encouraging Patrick with his book Fromelles and Ray Martin with a 60 Minutes story. At the gathering, the re-screening of the 60 Minutes story, that was viewed by more than 2 million Australians in 2006, was met with spontaneous applause in appreciation.

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The role of Chris Bryett’s proposal for a private venture to undertake the investigation was pivotal in the Government and Army taking the lead role and engaging Glasgow University Archaeological Research Department (GUARD) to undertake a non-invasive investigation at Pheasant Wood to establish whether human remains might be present, and if so, an estimate of how many remains might be found and their likely condition. Tony Pollard reflected on his professional and personal experiences during the excavation and the pressures of media interest, difficult weather conditions and guiding team on-location so far from their base. 

Fromelles-11-Day 1 of preliminary excavation Tony Pollard, Jim Munro, Jill Hayes at Fromelles Family Gathering cropped
GUARD Archaeologists at Fromelles 2008      Jill Hayes, Jim Munro and Tony Pollard

Richard Wright outlined the importance that Oxford Archaeology placed on avoiding contamination during the excavation and exhumation process and documenting every aspect of each part the process. This has contributed to usable DNA being extracted for each of the 250 soldiers whose remains were exhumed as well as a comprehensive understanding of how the soldiers were buried. Both Richard and Tony shared that in their archaeological experiences with mass graves, they had not previously encountered such an orderly placement of bodies, attesting to the respect with which the German soldiers treated their fallen adversaries and followed the Order of General Von Braun. Richard also outlined the vast collection of artefacts found with the soldiers remains and remarkable condition these were in after 90 years.

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Royce Atkinson explained how the Fromelles Association was continuing efforts to trace relatives whose DNA might match that extracted from the soldiers re-interred at Fromelles and prepare submissions to Army to assist in identifying more soldiers. Barbara Abt attested to the impact on her family of Private Henry Bell being identified this year and having his headstone dedicated on 19 July. Stuart Quarmby shared his recent experience finding out about his relatives Corporal Alfred George Tuck and Acting Sergeant William Polding Ryan, who both died on their first day of battle. Geoffrey Benn, also a relative of Acting Sergeant Ryan shared his journey in learning of his relative’s involvement at Fromelles.

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Opportunities were provided for descendants and people with an interest in the Fromelles story to reflect on their own personal journey and how the special guests have contributed to that. The appreciative attendees gave their heartfelt thanks to the special guests and group photos were taken. The feedback on the Gathering has been overwhelmingly positive and helped to Keep The Memory Alive.

Jim Munro
President

Posted in Events, Fromelles, Lambis Englezos | Comments Off

VALE – Neville Kidd

Neville Thomas Kidd 1922 - 2018

Neville Thomas Kidd 1922 – 2018

On behalf of the Committee and Members of Families and Friends of the First AIF, I extend condolences to the family and friends of FFFAIF Foundation and Honorary Member Neville Kidd on his passing in the Lady Davidson Private Hospital on 22 April 2018, aged 95 years.

Neville’s father, 3138 Pte Thomas Oswald (“Ossie’) Kidd (1897-1928) served with the 1st Pioneer Bn on the Western Front before returning to Australia in 1919. His mother, Mary, raised 6 infant children, after being widowed in 1928 aged 29. Neville also had 3 uncles who served in The Great War. Neville followed in his father’s footsteps, enlisting in World War 2, where he met Pte Winifred (“Win”) Booth AWAS 7AAOD (Australian Women’s Army Service 7th Australian Advanced Ordinance Depot), and they married in 1944.

Neville joined FFFAIF as Member AUS 22 in November 2002 and provided much voluntary and invaluable assistance during the establishment of FFFAIF Inc and the John Laffin Memorial Fund.

In 2003 Neville Kidd first introduced many of us to Major Roy Harrison in his article An Anzac I Never Knew which appeared in DIGGER Magazine. Neville’s book An Impression Which Will Never Fade, the story of Major Roy Harrison, published in 2000, charts the course of Harrison’s enlistment in the AIF and his service with the 2nd and 54th Battalions through to his death during the Battle of Fromelles, 19 July 1916. In 2008 Neville shared his moving experience when he and Win first visited the grave of Major Harrison in Rue Petillon CWGC in 1990 with FFFAIF Founder John Laffin and his wife Hazelle. Read An Anzac I Never Knew.

Neville Kidd, Martial Delabarre and John Laffin at Fromelles June 1990

Neville Kidd, Martial Delabarre and John Laffin at Fromelles June 1990

Neville Kidd, Martial Delabarre and John Laffin at Fromelles June 1990

 Neville generously donated copies of An Impression Which Will Never Fade, to winners of the John Laffin Travel Scholarship from 2005 to 2008.

2006 was a significant year in raising awareness of the Battle of Fromelles. Lambis Englezos and his team and Chris Bryett with ROAM were campaigning for the investigation of the “missing” soldiers of the Battle of Fromelles; Lambis and ‘Froggie Cobber’ Yves Fohlen featured on Ray Martin’s story on the Battle of Fromelles on 60 Minutes; and Neville, along with Ross St. Claire presented the John Laffin Memorial Lecture focussed on the Battle of Fromelles. Neville with FFFAIF President Russell Curley laid a wreath at the 19 July Fromelles Day Commemoration at the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park in Sydney with 7 FFFAIF members attending and FFFAIF wrote to the Trustees of the ANZAC Memorial in Hyde Park, Sydney re the Fromelles Commemoration.

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Neville with FFFAIF President Russell Curley honouring the fallen 19 July 2007 and Neville with Jim Munro honouring the fallen 19 July 2008
[Click on images to enlarge in a separate window]

The following year, Patrick Lindsay’s Fromelles was published, which included extracts of Neville’s book An Impression Which Will Never Fade, and outlined Neville’s campaign for greater recognition of the Battle of Fromelles on the ANZAC Memorial in Sydney (p160-162).

 Patrick Lindsay Fromelles Book Dec 2007

Patrick Lindsay Fromelles Book Dec 2007

A high point for Neville was the 2008 John Laffin Memorial Lecture focussed on the Battle of Fromelles when he joined with FFFAIF Members Lambis Englezos, Tim Whitford, Chris Bryett, Ross St Claire and Professor Richard Wright and author Patrick Lindsay for a series of lectures.

In 2009, Neville was invited to accept Honorary Membership of FFFAIF in recognition of his extraordinary service to Digger Heritage as demonstrated by his prolonged and untiring efforts to have the sacrifice made by the 5th Division AIF at Fromelles on 19/20 July 1916 properly recognised, and his voluntary and invaluable assistance during the establishment of FFFAIF Inc and the John Laffin Memorial Fund, and his continuing contributions.

In 2010, Neville participated in the inaugural FFFAIF Western Front Tour, 14-27 July 2010 as one 48 members on the tour. This tour combined individual and group commemorations with visits to most of the Western Front locations of significance to Australians and was an outstanding success. Neville commented that he had last experienced comradery similar to the Tour experience in his military service in World War II. Neville’s sense of humour and status as an elder statesman contributed significantly to the experience for all participants.

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Maurice Campbell commemorates Harold Campbell at Aeroplane Cemetery and
Elder Neville with Younger Sarah on the Western Front at Compienge July 2010
[Click on images to enlarge in a separate window]

Highlights for Neville included meeting Channel 7 Reporter Chris Reason on the battlefields and attending the Last Post Ceremony at Menin Gate and meeting Australian Ambassador Brendan Nelson.

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Neville with Chris Reason and Mat McLachlan on the Western Front July 2010
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WF Tour Day 4 The Wards - 248   Neville with Brendan Nelson at the Last Post Ceremony at Menin Gate July 2010

A memorable moment was when the Tour visited the Berks Cemetery Extension Memorial at Messines, where Neville misjudged the height of the chain and took a tumble, and was then reliant on a wheelchair with his “battlefield wound” for several days. However, this did not deter him pointing out that the Battle of Fromelles in 1916 is commemorated by inscription on the Memorial as “Fromelles 1916”, something that Neville aspired to see on Australian State and National War Memorials.

 

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Neville at Berks Cemetery Extension Memorial at Messines where “Fromelles 1916″ is inscribed July 2010
[Click on images to enlarge in a separate window]

Neville also trekked to the top of the Butte at Polygon Wood to point out the primacy of the Battle of Fromelles on the 5th Division Memorial.

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Neville at the Memorial to the 5th Division at Polygon Wood July 2010
[Click on images to enlarge in a separate window]

Visiting the graves of Major Harrison and Rev Spencer Maxted at Rue Petillon, visiting Pheasant Wood and attendance at the dedication of the new Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery had special significance for Neville.

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Neville laying a wreath on the grave of Roy Harrison at Rue Petillon July 2010

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Russell Curley, Neville and Ross St. Claire, and
Neville with Kath, Val and Colin at the grave of Roy Harrison July 2010
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Lambis and Neville commemorate Rev Spencer Maxted at his grave at Rue Petillon and with Ross St. Claire at VC Corner July 2010

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Neville with FFFAIF Tour Group looking across no-man’s land from the German front line July 2010

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Neville with Trevor Munro and Tim Whitford at Pheasant Wood July 2010

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Lambis Englezos and Neville where the “missing” soldiers were buried “before Pheasant Wood” July 2010

As a post-script to the Dedication ceremony at Fromelles, then FFFAIF Patron and Governor-General, Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC invited FFFAIF to organise a Fromelles Retrospective at Government House in Canberra, which Neville was honoured to attend on Remembrance Day 2010.

2010 11 11 Remembrance Day 2010 Canberra Neville and FFFAIF at AWM P1070164  2010 11 11 Remembrance Day 2010 Canberra P1070263

Neville on Remembrance Day 2010 at the AWM and at Government House with Val and Colin
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Neville with Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC and Michael Bryce at the Fromelles Retrospective on Remembrance Day 2010

Neville continued to advocate for greater recognition for those men who fought in the Battle of Fromelles on 19 July 1916. Part of his legacy is that the Fromelles Day Commemoration at the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park in Sydney has grown from the small Commemoration in 2006 to more than 250 people attending a decade later. The Fromelles Day Commemoration is now one of the most significant commemorations in the Anzac Memorial calendar.

Neville also continued to participate in FFFAIF John Laffin Memorial Lectures and AGM’s, and as his mobility declined, on several occasions he connected via Skype and participated by reciting Laurence Binyon’s For the Fallen as The Ode.

Neville Kidd with FFFAIF members

Neville Kidd with FFFAIF members

We give thanks for Neville’s contribution to helping Keep The Memory Alive and to FFFAIF and its members. We will treasure our memories of him.

Neville is at rest next to his beloved wife Win at Macquarie Park Cemetery. Condolences are extended to Kath, Colin and Val and families on the passing of their much-loved father, father-in-law, grandfather and great-grandfather.

Jim Munro
President

A copy of this FFFAIF Tribute to Neville Kidd may be downloaded by clicking here.
Neville Kidd – FFFAIF Tribute – May 2018

Posted in 2010 Commemorative Tour, Commemorations, Fromelles, John Laffin Memorial Lecture, The Western Front | Comments Off

Project to build wind farms at the site of the Battle of Bullecourt will not proceed

Bullecourt Little Cross

A project to build wind farms at the site of the Battle of Bullecourt will not proceed

Remembrance of the Battles of Bullecourt, 10-11 April and 3-17 May 1917, have been kept alive by the local community over the past hundred years. Four memorials, the Bullecourt Digger, the bronze Slouch Hat, the Little Cross memorial, and the Jean and Denise Letaille Museum, are testament to the commitment of the people of this small French community.  They have honoured, respected and preserved the sacrifice of the Australian and British troops who fought, who may have been killed in action, who may have been wounded in these fields. In the first battle, the AIF took 3,289 casualties; the second saw 7,482 Australian and 6,800 British casualties. 

French company Energie Green had proposed to erect a series of wind turbines as a means of generating power, on the battlefield site, where 2,423 men of the AIF lie in unmarked graves. Each year, significant numbers of Australians travel to Bullecourt to pay their respects to the men who fought in the battles and those who were killed in action.

After widespread concern being expressed at the proposal, media coverage and diplomatic representations have led to the project being terminated.

Minister for Defence Personnel and Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan released the following statement:

21 November 2017

Bullecourt Wind farms

Statement from Minister for Defence Personnel and Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan on
the announcement that a project to build wind farms at the site of the Battle of
Bullecourt would not proceed.

“What a great reminder that we will never forget,” Mr Tehan said.
“This is wonderful news for every Australian and especially those with a family
connection to the Battle of Bullecourt.
“Some 2300 Australians who died at Bullecourt have no known grave and Australians
were rightly concerned about the potential impact of a construction project at the site.
“The ENGIE Group has listened to the concerns of the Australian people and they have
acted with empathy by cancelling this project.
“I would like to thank the ENGIE Group, who listened to our concerns, for the respect
they have shown for the sacrifice made by Australian soldiers on French soil one
hundred years ago and the French Government, who made representations on behalf of
Australia.
“Seeing how passionate Australians were about protecting the final resting place of the
Bullecourt soldiers was a powerful reminder that we will never forget the service and
sacrifice of the men and women who fight for our freedom and values.”

Click here to download a copy of Minister Tehan’s Media Statement Bullecourt 2017 11 21 Tehan statement – Bullecourt wind farms

 

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FFFAIF announces 2018 Western Front Commemorative Tour

Following the success of the FFFAIF Commemorative Tours in 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016 for its Members, the FFFAIF is again undertaking a Commemorative Tour to the battlefields of the First World War in Belgium and France in 2018. The 17 day Tour commences on 1st July 2018 and will be present at the Australian Corps Memorial, Le Hamel for the official DVA Centenary commemorations on the 4th July 2018.

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Shrapnel Charlie’s Diggers at Le Hamel, 25 July 2010. Photo: Colin Kidd

The 93 minute Battle of Hamel on 4th July 1918 was Sir John Monash’s “model” battle that proved a turning point in the Great War and helped lay the foundations for the allied victories of 1918.

*****

Participants will immerse themselves in the history of The Great War as they follow in the footsteps of our ANZAC and Commonwealth forebears. The tour will visit Mons to understand how the British Expeditionary Force and French retreat thwarted the German invasion plan, and encompass the major battlefields across Belgium and France and visit Charleroi, the final encampment location after the war for most Australian Diggers before embarkation home.

VB ANZAC Day 2009 _websiteFromelles (Pheasant Wood) Cemetery_website

The Tour will also explore the historic battlefield of Waterloo and visit the cultural centre of Bruges, home to Flemish and Dutch Painting Masters and amazing scenery.

Poziers Town sign & water tower_websiteLions return to Menin Gate 24 April 2017 DSCN0732 (Medium)

“The journey of a lifetime” is how many participants of previous FFFAIF Commemorative Tours have described their experience. FFFAIF members with specialist battlefield knowledge combine with the local knowledge of our European FFFAIF Members to enable tour participants to experience a customized tour that attempts to get each participant to a significant  cemetery, memorial and/or location on the battlefield, that links them to their past.

Tyne Cot Cemetery

To join FFFAIF members on this Tour, Contact David Wright, Travel Agent supporting the tour by email to tour@fffaif.org.au.

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