Fromelles Day Commemorations, Wednesday 19 July

Fromelles Day Commemoration, Wednesday 19 July, Sydney

All FFFAIF members, friends and descendants and members of the public are invited to attend the Commemoration of the 101st anniversary of the Battle of Fromelles to be held at the ANZAC Memorial, Hyde Park in Sydney on Wednesday 19 July commencing at 10:45 for 11:00am. The commemoration is organised by FFFAIF in conjunction with the Trustees of the ANZAC Memorial to fulfil a commitment by the Trustees to the returned veterans of the 5th Division of the First AIF that their service and the sacrifice of their comrades on 19 July 1916 would always be officially remembered. The Battle of Fromelles was the first battle on the Western Front for the Australian Imperial Force and resulted in the largest loss of lives in any 24-hour period of Australia’s history.

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Fromelles Day Centenary Commemoration, 19 July 2016, ANZAC Memorial, Hyde Park Sydney

State President War Widows Guild Mrs Rhondda Vanzella OAM, Leader of the Opposition The Hon Luke Foley MP, Acting President, NSW RSL Mr. John Haines AM, FFFAIF President Jim Munro, Premier of NSW, the Hon Mike Baird, Ms Jill Hayes (FFFAIF), Major-General Gus Gilmore, AO, DSC, Professor the Hon. Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO, Minister for Veteran’s Affairs, The Hon David Elliott MP, and the Consul-General for the Republic of France, M. Nicolas Croizer, Pastor Bob Durbin and Mrs Margaret Snodgrass (FFFAIF).

The 11am Commemoration is preceded by a Solemn Procession from the Archibald Fountain to the ANZAC Memorial at 10:15am for 10:30 step-off. The Archibald Fountain in Hyde Park, unveiled in 1932, commemorates the bond between Australia and France during the Great War and the Procession to the ANZAC Memorial symbolizes the “400 yards”, equivalent to the widest part of “No-man’s land” on the Fromelles battlefield, and pays homage to the 5th Division veterans marching to the ANZAC Memorial for the 50th anniversary commemoration in 1966.

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Invitations are also extended to attend Solemn Vespers in Commemorating the Australians in the Battle of Fromelles, to be held at St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney on Tuesday 18 July 2017 at 7.00pm. Note that this is the evening before the Solemn Procession and Commemoration. A wreath will be laid at the Statue in Memory of Fallen Soldiers completed by George Lambert in 1931. As Australia did not have an official tomb of the unknown soldier until 1993, George Lambert’s recumbent figure came to be known informally as Australia’s ‘Monument to the unknown soldier” . Located previously in the crypt, where it was touched in the evening by the setting sun, the memorial has now been moved into the aisle of the cathedral, to give the public greater access to it.

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Please RSVP to FFFAIF Commemorations Officer, Mrs Margaret Snodgrass OAM, margaret@forsyth.com.au or phone: (02) 9419 7411 if you wish to attend the Solemn Vespers, Solemn Procession or Commemoration.

 

Fromelles Day Commemoration, Wednesday 19 July, Melbourne

1:30pm Wreath Laying at the Cobbers Statue, Shrine of Remembrance

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This is a joint service hosted by The Shrine of Remembrance and the Friends of the 15th Brigade to remember the 5533 Australians killed, wounded or captured during this disastrous 24-hour battle. 1:30 p.m. at the “Cobbers” statue.

Pozieres Day Commemoration, Sunday 23th July 2017, Sydney

The First Battalion Association is commemorating the 101st Anniversary of the Battle Pozieres at their annual service at Saint Columba Uniting Church corner Ocean and Forth Streets, Woollahra, 9:30am Sunday 23th July 2017.

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Return of the Menin Gate Lions to Ieper

Johan Durnez, Waregem, Belgium, with Geoff Lewis, Raglan.

Edited version of article in DIGGER 59

Anzac Day - 2017

Return of the Menin Gate Lions to Ieper
Click on the image and zoom in to see greater detail. [Photo from Defence Image Library]

‘It was wonderful to see the lions back on the place where they [had] been for so many years’  [Johan Durnez]. Long-time FFFAIF member, Belgian teacher Johan Durnez, has written a report on an important event held at Ieper in April. Any members who have visited the Western Front would have likely paid their respects at the nightly ceremony held at Menin Gate, which commemorates 54 900 men who lost their lives in the Ypres Salient and who have no known grave. Those who have not had this experience, but who have visited the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, would have paused to inspect the two guardian lions which sat inside the front entrance of the memorial. Recent visitors to the AWM may have noticed that the lions seem to have disappeared. Johan tells the story of the return of the lions to Ieper:

The Menin Gate, as we know it, was only built in 1927. The gate was originally erected in the 1660s and was the entrance to the city through the ramparts. The two lions were carved from sandstone sometime around 1822, and initially stood at the front door of the Cloth Hall. Later, they were moved to stand on either side of the thirteen metre wide road.  It  was through  this  gate  that  thousands  of  British  and Commonwealth soldiers passed on the way to war in the Ypres Sector from 1914 to 1918.

During the Great War, the city was extensively damaged by shell fire. The lions were not immune and fell from their brick plinths. It was reported that one had lost its right foreleg and was chipped along its back.  The other was much more extensively damaged and all that remained was a damaged head and a trunk down to just below its ribcage. Then they disappeared for some years. Somehow they had survived and, in 1936, the Mayor of Ypres donated the two lions to the Australian Memorial as a gesture of friendship.

In 1985, it was decided by the AWM to restore them; this took six years. The lions were then returned to their familiar places. In 2014, they were lent to the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa and returned nine months later.

Johan’s photo shows two covered plinths prior to their unveiling.

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Undercover Menin Lions [Photo by Johan Durnez]

The lions were unveiled in their original positions on 24 April, and will be on display until 11 November, after which they will be returned to Canberra.

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The unveiling by Veterans Affairs Minister The Hon Dan Tehan
[Photos by Anny de Decker and Defence Image Library]

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Veterans Affairs Minister The Hon Dan Tehan at the unveiling service and
Cpl Keighran VC reciting The Ode. [Photos by Anny de Decker & Defence Image Library]

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The unveiling Menin Gate Lions
[Photos from Defence Image Library and by Anny de Decker]

FFFAIF were represented by two of our dedicated Belgian members, Anny De Decker and Marie Claire Sinnaeve [widow of Ivan aka ‘Shrapnel Charlie’], who arrived two hours early to get a good ‘possy’ at both the unveiling service and the Anzac Day service the next day.

Anzac Day - 2017

Returned Lions, poppies and dignitaries at the Menin Gate
Another great image to click on and zoom in for the detail [Photo: Defence Image Gallery]

The photos were taken by Anny de Decker at the unveiling service on 24 April, 2017 and supplemented with photos from the Defence Image Gallery.

More images can be seen at https://images.defence.gov.au/assets/archives/5003.

As there are thousands of photos, search for the photos taken on 24 April 2017 by searching for “20170424”. Photos of Tyne Cot and the Belgium Dawn Service may also be viewed.

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Flanders Memorial Garden dedicated at the Australian War Memorial 4 April 2017

More than 6 000 Australian soldiers are buried in unknown graves in Flanders fields. Now there is a Flanders Memorial Garden at the Australian War Memorial containing soil from those battlefields, Flanders cemeteries and Australian places that the soldiers knew well.

 Flanders Memorial GardenFlanders Memorial Garden

Click on images to see more detail [Photos Jim Munro]

The new garden was dedicated on 4 April, 2017, in a poignant ceremony on a crisp Canberra morning.  FFFAIF Patron, His Excellency, General, The Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC and Mrs Cosgrove were special guests of the Chair of the AWM Council, Kerry Stokes AC and the Director of the AWM, Dr Brendan Nelson AO. FFFAIF President, Jim Munro, and Committee members Jill Hayes and Sue Tongue represented the FFFAIF.

Flanders soil was carried by the Federation Guard in 5 boxes constructed of Tasmanian Blackwood (the same timer used for the coffin of the Unknown Soldier) to lie near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier overnight. The soil was from Tyne Cot Cemetery, Menin Gate Ramparts, Polygon Wood, Toronto Avenue Cemetery and Hill 60.

Flanders Memorial Garden Dedication 4 Apr 2017 Smoking ceremony for Flanders soil boxes IMG_7862 Flanders Memorial Garden Dedication 4 Apr 2017 dappled light for smoking ceremony for Flanders soil boxes IMG_7862

There were many memorable parts of this event. The  welcome to country,  and later smoking ceremony, conducted by Ngunnawal Elder Tina Brown, created a profound sense of the importance of ground – Australia’s ancient land, the battlefields and the new garden.

The soil from Flanders was carried to the garden and deposited in the solemn ceremony.

Flanders Memorial Garden Dedication 4 Apr 2017 Mr Verlaeckt placing Flanders soil IMG_7866_MomentFlanders Memorial Garden Dedication 4 Apr 2017 Plaque IMG_7888

Mr Verlaeckt, The Secretary-General of the Flanders Department of Foreign Affairs placing some of the Flanders soil in the Memorial Garden – click on images to see more detail

The Australian soil was collected from sites of significance in each Australian state and territory and local timber of significance was used for the boxesin which it was carried. The soli was from:

  • The Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park, Garden Island and Victoria Barracks in NSW
  • Yamba Homestead in the Woden Valley and Jerrabomberra Wetlands (Duntroon Trench Warfare& Bombing School) in the ACT
  • Torrens Training Depot, the Outer Harbour and Keswick Barracks in South Australia
  • Fremantle Port, Albany and Blackboy Hill in Western Australia
  • Soldiers Memorial Avenue in Hobart and ‘Northallerton’ on King Island in Tasmania
  • Port of Darwin (East Port) in the Northern Territory
  • The Shrine of Remembrance and Maygar Barracks in Melbourne and the Avenue of Honour in Ballarat in Victoria
  • Warwick, Enoggera and Pinkenba in Queensland

Flanders Memorial Garden Dedication 4 Apr 2017 Aust soil boxes IMG_7877 Flanders Memorial Garden Dedication 4 Apr 2017 NSW soil box IMG_7880

Wing Commander Sharon Bown (Ret’d) recited McRae’s ‘In Flanders Fields’ poem with perfect pitch. Speeches that followed  – by the Director of the War Memorial and Governor-General – were particularly relevant. The Chief of Army read the Last Post reading of the day about the three Seabrook brothers, who were all killed at Passchendaele, within 24 hours of each other.

The music added to the occasion. The Band of RMC Duntroon performed and a musician sang the song ‘O Passchendaele’ by Garth Porter.

The Secretary-General of the Flanders Department of Foreign Affairs, Mr Verlaeckt, spoke about the connection between Flanders and Australia. He mentioned the need for places of reflection at this time. Then, as he ended his speech, a flock of white cockatoos flew overhead in the early morning sunlight, calling out agreement. Perhaps they knew about the soil contributed from their Jerrabombera wetlands, where the Duntroon trench warfare bombing school operated.

Sue Tongue

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Sue Tongue with Jill Hayes at the Flanders Memorial dedication. Photos by Jim Munro

To see the AWM posting on the Flanders Memorial Garden dedication click here or go to https://oldsite.awm.gov.au/1914-1918/flanders-memorial-garden/

Posted in Commemorations, Ieper/Ypres, Memorials, Passchendale, Polygon Wood, The Western Front, Uncategorized, Zonnebeke | Comments Off on Flanders Memorial Garden dedicated at the Australian War Memorial 4 April 2017

More Tasmanian soldiers have their Great War service acknowledged

 

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The Tasmanian Headstone Project commenced in 2012 when was discovered that there were a number of returned First World War veterans whose last resting place was no more than a dirt plot within the Cornelian Bay Cemetery located on the outskirts of the city of Hobart.  This meant that there was no monumental work or any other marker on their burial plot to indicate who is buried there.  To date 316 WWI unmarked graves have been identified. 

On 8th March 2012, descendants, dignitaries and invited guests gathered for the unveiling of headstone and plaques for Private Percy Dransfield MM,  Joseph Patrick McSorley MM (7th Field Company Engineers), Edward Albert Brockman (15th Battalion) and Sydney Rupert Roland Higgins (13th Field Artillery) to mark their last resting place and to formally recognise their service to their country. Six more plaques were unveiled in July and another six in November to coincide with Remembrance Day.

Further dedications followed in 2013, 2014 and 2015 and in May 2016 Lambis Englezos was the guest speaker at an unveiling. In June 2016, 31 headstones were installed and unveiled. Dr Brendan Nelson, Director of the Australian War Memorial was the guest speaker on 7 November 2016 with more than 150 attendees.

On 31st March 2017, the Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Angus Campbell, DSC, AM unveiled a number of commemorative plaques on headstones recognising the service of soldiers, whose grave were previously unmarked.

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The unveilings went off with military precision thanks to the involvement of members of the 12/40th Battalion who provided a guard and sentries for each of the graves being unveiled.

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On 19 May 2017 a further 6 headstones were dedicated and on 22 September 2017 Dr Ross McMullin was guest speaker when additional headstones were dedicated.

On 6 November 2017 Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner, Governor of Tasmania dedicated a further 9 headstones with Mr Richard Warner, along with Senator, the Honourable Eric Abetz, Andrew Wilkie MP, Brian Mitchell MP, Mr Jim Wilkinson, President of the Legislative Council and several other politicians both state and three heads of service also in attendance.  Jaidyn Gluskie who was a recipient of the Frank McDonald scholarships for 2016 also spoke about his trip to the Western Front.

The number of veterans who have had their service recognised at Cornelian Bay Cemetery now is about 220 with all 316 bases and tops installed, with the remaining 96 awaiting their plaques. 

FFFAIF supports the project through the provision of along with the State RSL Branch and the Tasmanian Government and a number of suppliers who contribute materials and other forms of support – Millington Cemeteries, Cement Australia, Sika Australia and Clennett’s Mitre 10. Further donations and contributions would be welcome. 

The Headstone Project is managed through a FFFAIF Sub-Committee, Chaired by Andrea Gerrard but has its own website at http://www.tasheadstoneproject.org/. Read the “About Us” section for an overview of the project – and feel proud of their achievements, or the more comprehensive report in the Members Area of the www.fffaif.org.au website.

Update December 2017

 

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Centenary of the Anzac Obelisk on ANZAC Parade, Moore Park Sydney 15 March 2017

 

Smoking ceremony for centenary of ANZAC Parade Obelisk

Smoking ceremony for centenary of ANZAC Parade Obelisk

The commemoration of the centenary of the Anzac Obelisk on Anzac Parade was held at Moore Park Sydney on Wednesday, 15 March 2017. Official Guests included the NSW Governor, His Excellency General, The Hon David Hurley AC, The Ministers for Veteran’s Affairs, David Elliott MP and Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey MP, Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Andrew Constance MP, The Dean of St Mary’s Cathedral, Rev. Donald Richardson (whose grandfather was an original ANZAC), Keith Payne VC, representatives of the military services and ex-service organisations and elders of the local Aboriginal Land Council. The RAN Band also participated. President Jim Munro and Commemorations Officer Margaret Snodgrass attended as did Member Darren Mitchell who attended in his role related to the Korean War Memorial.  Alexander Weilsmann, who assists FFFAIF with the Sydney Fromelles Day Commemoration Service was a key person in arranging for the Obelisk being refurbished, re-located and commemorated.

Subsequently, Randwick Council indicated that it was committed to build a similar Obelisk at the southern end of ANZAC Parade, as was envisaged a century ago.

Wreath laying by the NSW Governor, His Excellency General, The Hon David Hurley AC DSC and Mrs Hurley

Wreath laying by the NSW Governor, His Excellency General, The Hon David Hurley AC DSC and Mrs Hurley

NSW Government dedication plaque

NSW Government dedication plaque

Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Andrew Constance MP, Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey MP and Minister for Veteran’s Affairs, David Elliott MP at the ANZAC Parade Obelisk

Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Andrew Constance MP, Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey MP and Minister for Veteran’s Affairs, David Elliott MP at the ANZAC Parade Obelisk

Anzac Parade, had previously been known as Randwick Road, but was renamed to commemorate the route used by which the troops marched from their training camps at Kensington and Randwick to their place of embarkation at Woolloomooloo.

Embarkation Park, overlooking the wharves at Woolloomooloo

Embarkation Park, overlooking the wharves at Woolloomooloo

Posted in ANZAC Day, Commemorations | Comments Off on Centenary of the Anzac Obelisk on ANZAC Parade, Moore Park Sydney 15 March 2017

Remembrance Weekend Sydney

Sydney, NSW – 11-13 November 2016

Friday 11 November

Remembrance Day Commemoration at The Cenotaph, Martin Place

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A number of FFFAIF members attended the Remembrance Day service at The Cenotaph in Martin Place, Sydney where President Jim Munro, accompanied by Jill Hayes, laid a wreath on behalf of FFFAIF as seen below.

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2016 John Laffin Memorial Lecture Series:
1916: The Western Front, Fromelles and Pozieres

The John Laffin Memorial Lecture commemorates the life and work of Australian military historian John Laffin who founded the Families and Friends of the First AIF in 1998.

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John Laffin

The 2016 John Laffin Memorial Lecture was held on Friday, 11 November, at the NSW Parliament House theatrette. The NSW Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, The Hon David Elliott was  represented by The Hon. Scott Farlow MLC. The Western Front Association and Fromelles Association, along with the History Teachers Association helped promote the event.

The focus was on Fromelles and Pozieres to mark the centenary of both battles. Speakers were Jim Munro, Patrick Lindsay AM, Tim Lycett, Royce Atkinson was followed by a Fromelles Q & A panel of Patrick, Tim, Royce, Chris Bryett and Annette Tebb.

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

Matt Smith presented a review of the 2016 FFFAIF Western Front tour.

Will Davies gave an overview of the battle for Pozieres and advised of the current status of the project for Australian school children to contribute to the costs of building a new school at Pozieres.

A more comprehensive report of the John Laffin Memorial Lecture series is in the Members Area. Go to About > John Laffin

Sunday 13 November FFFAIF Members AGM, Sydney

The 2016 Annual General Meeting of the FFFAIF Inc was held in Sydney on Sunday, 13 November. The committee of management for 2016/17 was filled without the need for an election as the number of candidates matched the number of positions (nine). The committee members and positions are listed in General Meetings section of the Members Area of this web site along with reports presented for the AGM and the unconfirmed Minutes.

Western Front Association Australian Branch (WFA) Meeting 1pm – 4pm

Following the AGM, FFFAIF members joined with WFA members and members of kindred organisations to listen to the speakers at the WFA’s meeting. Gareth Morgan, President, Australian Society of World War 1 Aero Historians spoke on Australians in the RFC/RAF during the First World War, while Darren Crabb, a former RCAF and RAAF combat fighter pilot collector of RFC medals spoke on three medal groups he holds of WWI pilots

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Special Event to Welcome Martial and Catherine Delabarre to Sydney

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2008 Photo: Martial Delebarre (President Association Fromelles-Weppes-Terre de Memoire 14-18 (F.W.T.M. 14-18 ), Hubert Huchette (Mayor of Fromelles) and Francis Delattre (President de Union des Anciens Combattants – de l’UNC)

The Fromelles Association and the Australian Branch of the Western Front Association and FFFAIF are pleased to host a joint meeting to welcome Martial Delabarre to Sydney on 8 September. Martial has played a key role in the investigations that resulted in the rediscovery and exhumation of deceased Australian and British soldiers who died in the 1916 Fromelles battle in northern France.

2008: Martial Delebarre OAM, President of the Fromelles Weppes Territoriale Memoriale, The Honourable John Brumby, Premier of Victoria Monsieur,  Hubert Hutchette, Mayor of Fromelles and Peter Corlett, sculptor [Chris Munro]

He and his wife, Catherine, are visiting Australia in September as the guests of their friends Jim Munday and Tony May. Martial and Catherine are also visiting Mudgee, Wellington, Bodangara (16th) and Canberra (17th).

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2010 Photo: David Marshall, Jean Marie Bailleul, Vice Président de FWTM 14-18 and Martial Delbarre AM with the Australian flag presented to the Fromelles Museum by Mike Rimmer [Mike Rimmer]

Martial Delabarre, OAM is a foundation member and President of the Souvenir de la Battaille de Fromelles 19/20 Julliet 1916. This involved the establishment of the first battlefield museum at Fromelles in 1990. Opened in the Town Hall, it remained a special place of pilgrimage until a new and publically funded museum opened nearby in 2014.

 

John Fielding & Martial Delebarre at Fromelles Museum

2008 Photo -John Fielding & Martial Delebarre at Fromelles Museum

Martial has been an officer of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission for many years. During this time, he formed a close association and friendship with Victorian school teacher and historian Lambis Englezos. This co-operation materially assisted Lambis, amongst others, to finally rediscover and then support the exhumation of the remains of many of the Australian and British soldiers who died in July 1916 in the Pheasant Wood area.

l to r: Neville Kidd, Martial Delebarre, John Laffin. June 1990 June 1990: l to r: Neville Kidd, Martial Delebarre, John Laffin.

Martial has devoted a large part of his life to the study and archaeological investigation of the Australian role in the Fromelles battle of the 19th and 20th July 1916. In 2006, Martial Delabarre was awarded an honorary Medal in the Order of Australia “for service to Australia-France relations, particularly the preservation and promotion of Australian military history in Fromelles”.

 

2008 Photo: Mayor Hubert Huchette and Martial Delabarre at Australian Memorial Park, Fromelles. [Carole Laignel, Secretary Fromelles Museum]

 

Martial will present an illustrated talk on his role in the investigation of the Battle of Fromelles and its importance to him and to Australian military history.

 

It is with great pleasure that we invite you to attend this event and hear Martial’s story.

 

Thursday 8th September 2016 6pm to 8pm., The Bowling Club, 99 York St, Sydney

$12 cash subscription payable on the night to cover costs and light refreshments.

The venue is close to Town Hall station and to several CBD public car-park stations.

 

RSVP to: wfaaustraliabranch@gmail.com or to the Fromelles Association (for members of the latter group)

 

Paul Simadas

Chairman

Australian Branch, Western Front Association

(0418) 461 956

Posted in Fromelles, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Special Event to Welcome Martial and Catherine Delabarre to Sydney

Commemorations of the Battle of Pozieres, 23 July 1916

The centenary of the Battle of Pozieres is to be commemorated by services in Pozieres as well as in Australia.

Pozieres

The commemoration service at Pozieres will be shown on ABC TV at midnight (AET) on 23 July, as part of its Australia Remembers: WW1 Centenary Services series and will be available in ABC iview as Australia Remembers: Pozieres Centenary Commemoration.

Sydney

The First Battalion Association is hosting the Pozieres Day Commemoration Service at Saint Columba Uniting Church, on the corner of Ocean and Forth Street, Woollahra on Sunday 24 July, 2016 commencing at 9:30.

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The Pipes and Drums of the Scots College Band will arrive at 9:30 and the Guest of Honour will take the salute.

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At 10am the service will commence with the parade of the Colours of the 1st Battalion AIF carried by the 1/19 Royal New South Wales Regiment.

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The original 1st Battalion Colours and Union Jack have been restored and will be dedicated on either side of the Pozieres Cross.

Contact: Michael Lane
Hon. Secretary,
The First Battalion Association
firstbnassnnsw@yahoo.com.au
02 9580 1383

 

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Commemorations of the Battle of Fromelles 19-20 July 1916

Fromelles

6 headstones were dedicated at the commemoration service at the Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery. Now 150 of the 250 headstones indicate the identity of the soldier whose grave it marks. The identities of a further 78 of the 100 soldiers buried in the cemetery with full military honours in 2010 are known, but not yet matched to the headstone marking their grave.

More than 2,500 people attended the service on a day when the temperature rose above 35C, similar to when the cemetery was dedicated in 2010. The commemoration service was shown live on ABC TV, as was the commemorative service at VC Corner and both are available in ABC iview as Australia Remembers: WW1 Centenary Services

Pheasant Wood Commemorative Service and Headstone Dedication or
http://iview.abc.net.au/programs/australia-remembers-wwi-centenary-services/FA158; and
VC Corner Commemorative Service or
http://iview.abc.net.au/programs/australia-remembers-wwi-centenary-services/FA1589H002S00

 

Sydney Procession from the Archibald Fountain to the ANZAC Memorial Commemorative Service

The Families and Friends of the First AIF hosted the 100th Anniversary Commemoration of The Battle of Fromelles at The ANZAC Memorial Hyde Park, Sydney on Tuesday 19 July 2016. On a warm sunny morning, the Commemoration was preceded by a commemorative walk from the Archibald Fountain to the ANZAC Memorial celebrating the bond between Australia and France in The Great War.  The procession was led by Professor the Hon. Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO and the President of FFFAIF, Jim Munro and FFFAIF member Jill Hayes, M. Nicolas Croizer, Consul-General for the Republic of France, The Hon Luke Foley MP, Leader of the Opposition, The Hon David Elliott MP, Minister for Veteran’s Affairs, Mr. John Haines AM, Acting President, NSW RSL and Mr Peter Poulet, NSW Government Architect and Mr Ken Corke, Director, Office of Australian War Graves and Mr Hadyn White of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.  . They were supported by M Jean Louis Worobec and members of the French North African Veterans’ Association and members of FFFAIF and the public.
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The procession travelled the distance of “400 yards”, equivalent to 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. The participants in the procession were greeted by FFFAIF Commemorations Officer Margaret Snodgrass and joined those gathered at the ANZAC Memorial including ANZAC Centenary Ambassadors and the Trustees of the ANZAC Memorial as well as Deputy Commissioner David Hudson APM of the NSW Police Force, representatives of the Armed Forces, Ex-Service organisations, War Widows and descendants.  The Holy Family Choir Menai sang some Gathering songs and led more than 200 attendees in singing the Recessional: O Valiant Hearts, after which Master of Ceremonies, Darren Mitchell commenced the Commemoration with a period of silence for the Bastille Day victims in Nice, and their grieving families.
A message from the Patron of the FFAIF, and Governor General of Australia His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd) was read before the Prologue was delivered by the Hon. Mike Baird MP, Premier of New South Wales who emphasised the strength of the bond between France and Australia a century ago and today.
Pastor Bob Durbin led a prayer, followed by Major-General Gus Gilmore, AO, DSC of The Australian Army delivering the Commemorative Address.

Major-General Gus Gilmore, AO, DSC of The Australian Army delivering the Commemorative Address

Major-General Gus Gilmore, AO, DSC of The Australian Army delivering the Commemorative Address

The Consul-General for the Republic of France, M. Nicolas Croizer, delivered a Message from France, expressing appreciation for Australian support since The Great War and continuing today. A Family Reflection was delivered by FFFAIF member, Mrs Margaret Darling, conveying the impact on their family of the search for the “missing” soldiers Fromelles and the re-discovery of their graves, exhumation, identification and re-interment with full military honours. Wreaths were laid while Piper Jim Braid played the Lament.

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Wreath laying supported by the RSL Corps of Guards (L to R), Hon. Mike Baird MP, Premier of New South Wales, M. Nicolas Croizer, Consul-General for the Republic of France,  Major-General Gus Gilmore, AO, DSC of The Australian Army,  Mrs Rhondda Vanzella OAM, State President War Widows Guild,  The Hon David Elliott MP, Minister for Veteran’s Affairs on behalf of the Trustees of the ANZAC Memorial and Mr. John Haines AM, Acting President, NSW RSL for the Fifth Division of the AIF.

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Laying wreaths were Mr. John Haines AM, Acting President, NSW RSL for the Fifth Division of the AIF, Professor The Hon Dame Marie Bashir AD, CVO and
Mr Jean-Louis Worobec, President of the French Veterans’ Association.

Also laying wreaths were:
The Hon Luke Foley MP, Leader of the Opposition,
Wing Commander Kylie Cimen, representing the Air Commander Australia on behalf of the Royal Australian Air Force.
Deputy Commissioner David Hudson representing the NSW Police Commissioner, on behalf of the NSW Police Force, together with
Mr Ken Corke, Director, Office of Australian War Graves, and
Mr Hadyn White on behalf of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
Mrs Margaret Darling, Mr John Darling and Mr Harrison Tebb in memory of Ernest Jentsch and
Mr Royce Lockhart, Vice President,  Australian World War One Descendants,
Mr Roger Selby, Secretary, NSW Association of Jewish Ex-Service Men and Women
President Mr Mark McIntyre and Mr Malcolm Little OAM CStJ representing Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL Sub-branch,
President Mr Ron Brown OAM and Mr George Sachse, Representing The National Servicemen’s Association NSW.

The Last Post was played by Terry McCleary of the Fire and Rescue NSW Band before FFFAIF member and grandson of Margaret Darling, Harrison Tebb recited The Ode followed by silence and The Rouse. After a closing prayer and blessing, the Epilogue was delivered by President of FFFAIF, Jim Munro and the National Anthems of France and Australia were sung to close the commemoration.

After the commemorations, refreshments of ANZAC biscuits and warm beverages encouraged social interactions while special guests were farewelled by Mr Jim Munro, Ms Jill Hayes and Mrs Margaret Snodgrass.

Special thanks go the Trustees of the ANZAC Memorial, their staff, and contractors for providing the marquees, sound system and to the caterers Fit for a King. The presence of the Holy Family Choir of Menai and the RSL Corps of Guards and the Australian Army Flag Party along with the French Veterans contributed significantly to the solemnity and formality of the commemoration as did Master of Ceremonies, Darren Mitchell and Protocol Manager, Alexander Weilsmann and FFFAIF member Jill Hayes. Photographer Rob Tuckwell has provided a good photographic record of the occasion.

Special thanks go to the Organising Committee of Margaret Snodgrass, Darren Mitchell, Belinda Mitrovich, Michael Trenear, Alexander Weilsmann, Franziska Zuercher Mindrup,  Nick Young, Jeff O’Brien, Douglas James, Rosie Patrielli, and Program designer Anneke Jasinski.

Jim Munro, President of FFFAIF

 

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Commemoration of the Battle of Fromelles 19-20 July 1916

Sydney: 10:15 at the Archibald Fountain, Hyde Park for 10:30 Solemn Procession to the ANZAC Memorial for 11:00 Commemorative Service
Tuesday 19 July 2016

The Families and Friends of the First AIF invite you to attend the 100th Anniversary Commemoration of The Battle of Fromelles at The ANZAC Memorial Hyde Park, Sydney on Tuesday 19 July 2016 10:30am for 10:45am

The Commemoration will be preceded by a commemorative walk from the Archibald Fountain to the ANZAC Memorial celebrating the bond between Australia and France in The Great War. Assemble at the Archibald Fountain at 10:15 for 10:30 departure.

 Lounge suit, Day wear, Decorations /Medals, Poppy umbrellas

Please RSVP to FFFAIF Commemorations Officer, Mrs Margaret Snodgrass OAM at margaret@forsyth.com.au, or phone: (02) 9419 7411 or mail to:  4 Clanwilliam Street, Willoughby NSW 2068

ANZAC Memorial Fromelles Day Russell Curley

Melbourne: 1:30pm Fromelles Service and Wreath Laying at the Cobbers Statue, Tuesday, 19 July

This is a joint service hosted by The Shrine of Remembrance and the Friends of the 15th Brigade to remember the 5533 Australians killed, wounded or captured during this disastrous 24-hour battle. 1:30 p.m. at the “Cobbers” statue.

July 2008 037_frev_sml

Contacts:

Shrine of Remembrance: Reception <reception@shrine.org.au>

Friends of the 15th Brigade: Graham Williams 0417 360 097 graham.williams4@bigpond.com

Newcastle: 10am Honouring Private Harry Cressy at Sandgate Cemetery, Tuesday 19 July

A Memorial Service will be held to honour the supreme sacrifice of Pte Harry Cressy, 54th Battalion, 1st A.I.F. who fell on the 19th July 1916 by placing a memorial cross at his parents unmarked grave at Sandgate Cemetery with the participation of Cardiff and Boolaroo-Speers Point RSL Sub branch members. Harry’s elder brother Pte Edward Cressy was also wounded in the battle and was wound on two other occasions before returning to Australia in December 1918. There are at least 22 soldiers who fell during the Battle of Fromelles that are memorialised, or should be memorialised, scattered throughout Sandgate Cemetery who will be honoured during this service.

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In 2008 FFFAIF member Ross St.Claire came across a portrait of Private Harry Cressy during his research on the 54th Bn and wanted to pass it on to a family member. At a presentation at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne by FFFAIF member Ross McMullin, Lambis Englezos met relative David Meale and arrangements were made for the photo to be presented to David by the then FFFAIF President Russell Curley. 

Largely as a result of the research and advocacy of Lambis Englezos supported by FFFAIF members, the site at Pheasant Wood was investigated and the remains of 250 soldiers buried by the Germans were recovered, and reinterred with full military honours. Private Cressy was identified in 2010.

When his parents died, Harry’s grave was unknown, and now he has his own headstone in the Fromelles (Pheasant Woods) Military Cemetery. How appropriate that his parents unmarked grave might now have some form of recognition for both them and their sons Harry and Edward.

Contact: Gary Mitchell, Sandgate Cemetery WW1 Researcher, garwood@live.com.au

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