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.
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).
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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