Members of The Families and Friends of the First AIF took part in the inaugural Western Front Commemorative Tour from 14th to 27th July 2010.
The Tour started in Ieper, Belgium and over the next 14 days followed the Anzacs’ trail through the battlefields of Belgium and France visiting places of significance to the First AIF during the Great War, concluding with a visit to the Museum of the Armistice at Compiegne.
The Tour was intended to provide participating FFFAIF members with a unique and memorable experience and by all accounts the Tour was successful on both accounts.
The photographic record that follows, supplied by Tour participant Heather Ford, gives a glimpse into some of the truly memorable times experienced by those who came along for the Tour and others who joined in along the way.
Commemorations and cemetery visits were the ‘driving force’ behind the Tour’s itinerary.
All five AIF Divisional Memorials were visited: 1st Division Memorial at Pozieres; 2nd Division Memorial at Mont St Quentin; 3rd Division Memorial at Sailly-le-Sec; 4th Division Memorial at Bellenglise; 5th Division Memorial at Polygon Wood.
The Tour provided a wide variety of opportunities across the Western Front. Including:
visiting trenches and blockhouses,
meeting with Lambis Englezos and Tim Whitford at Pheasant Wood, Fromelles,
attending the dedication of the new CWGC cemetery at Fromelles,
sitting on the new John & Hazelle Laffin Memorial bench at Toc H Poperinghe,
and visiting the Canadian National Memorial at Vimy Ridge.
The happy group of travellers after their time at Bullecourt which included a visit to the Museum of Jean and Denise Letaille.
More tour photographs, provided by tour participants, will be posted as they become available over the coming weeks.
The Families and Friends of the First AIF thanks the Australian, UK and French Governments for affording Australian and British soldiers dignified individual reburials in the new CWGC cemetery at Fromelles, and applauds the Australian and British Governments for their joint decision to DNA test the remains at exhumation and use every reasonable method to attempt identification of each soldier.