On Saturday 26 April I and Jean Letaille awaked at 6.30 am. After a strong Breakfast we went to the small cross of Remembrance settled years ago by Jean Letaille and his friends to commemorate the Australian missings of the 2 battles of Bullecourt. We installed the French and the Australian Flag and put in a box the list of the missings.
Then we had lunch with the French Flag bearers and at 3.30 nearby the small cross started the Anzac Day ceremony. Jean Letaille, myself, Claude Durant AM, Jules Laude Mayor of Bullecourt welcomed the “VIPs”. Among them Mr David Ritchie AO, Australian Ambassador in France, Mr Alan Griffin MP Minister of Vets Affairs, Colonel F Skowronski, Australian Attaché of Defence, Mr Paul Stevens AO, Director of the Office of Australian War Graves.
That ceremony was unofficial but very moving. Claude Durrant told what happened in the fields… wreaths were laid.. then in cars we went to the centre of Bullecourt village where the official ceremony started.
About 2,500 persons were attending! (the village of Bullecourt has just about 150 souls ! ).. once again the ceremony was very moving. The hymns (French, Australian and English Anthems were beautifully performed by an Australian army woman). Then we marched to the Digger monument where again the ceremony reached an other level of emotions with the launching of Pigeons. Poems sung and told (in Flanders fields J McCrea) and again we sang the Australian Anthem and the French Marseillaise.. wreaths were laid… All those who have been to Bullecourt can understand these eerie moments …it seems that time has stopped.. and we the living were with the souls of those who never came back home…I think that Peter Benson and Stuart Curry FFFAIF members will tell you better than me how moving it was..
And then we slowly marched back to the village to share le verre de l’amitié…Anzac day ceremony 2008 at Bullecourt was one of the best ever.. It brought me more energy to the purpose of my life: to help Australians and others in their Remembrance
LEST WE FORGET
To view the Australian soldier singing the Australian National Anthem, follow the link: