Bathurst Invite

The FFFAIF is opening the doors of its inaugural Regional Meeting in Bathurst, NSW to RSL Members and the public. Bookings are essential. Please contact Regional meeting co-ordinator Peter Benson

Date:            Sunday 15th March 2009
Where:         Bathurst
Venue:         Bathurst RSL:  114 Rankin St, Bathurst
Time:           10am – 4pm (RSL opens at 9am)
Cost:            A donation per person to offset costs would be greatly appreciated.



Photo: Pheasant Wood Fromelles June 2008 [Warren Baker]

This meeting offers a unique opportunity to hear from several of the key personnel involved in the rediscovery of the missing of Fromelles and the plans to identify them and appropriately commemorate their sacrifice.

Following the archaeological dig undertaken at Fromelles in May and June 2008 that confirmed the presence of  the remains of British and Australian soldiers buried  in previously undisturbed burial pits following the Battle of Fromelles in July 1916, with a minimum number of individuals estimated at 225 to 250 and an upper estimate of 400 to 450 individuals, the Australian and British Governments have announced, with the agreement of the French Government, that a new Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery will be constructed and that the soldiers’ remains will be exhumed, all practical means used to try to identify them and the soldiers would be give a dignified military funeral with individual headstones. 

The speakers will share their experiences and outline progress that has been achieved and the plans for the new Cemetery and a commemoration service.

  • Hear how Lambis used archived army records to discover the previously unknown burial place of approximately the Australian and British Soldiers at Pheasant Wood near the French village of Fromelles.
  • Listen to the journey that was taken to have an archaeological dig instigated.
  • Find out what was discovered when the excavation took place.
  • Learn how DNA technology will be used in an attempt to try to identify the diggers later this year when they are exhumed.
  • Discover the proposed plans for the new cemetery due to be opened in July 2010.

The speakers will include Lambis Englezos – the man behind the research which led to the location of the ‘missing of Fromelles’; Tim Whitford – whose great uncle Harry Willis is believed to be buried at Fromelles, Major General (Retd) Mike O’Brien, Senior Australian Army Representative on the Australian Fromelles Project Group, responsible for the Australian Army efforts to identify and commemorate the soldiers; Roger Lee, Head of the Army History Unit.


Photo: Tim Whitford and Lambis Engelzos [Lambis Engelzos]


Photo: Roger Lee and Major General Mike O’Brien (Rtd) [Dpt Defence] 

Reserve your seat at the meeting by contacting the Bathurst Regional Meeting Co-ordinator Peter Benson 


The Families and Friends of the First AIF thanks the Australian, UK and French governments for affording Australian and British soldiers – presently buried in mass graves at Pheasant Wood – dignified individual reburials in a new CWGC cemetery at Fromelles, and applauds Minister Snowdon and his British counterpart, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence and Minister for Veterans, Kevan Jones MP, for their joint decision to DNA test the remains at exhumation and use every reasonable method to attempt identification of each soldier.

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