FFFAIF member Mike Goodwin has recently returned from leading the fifth overseas tour with students from the ‘Lest We Forget’ history project of Mackay North State School in Queensland. To glimpse some of what happened on the trip Mike has sent the following report:
Remembrance 2008 Commemorative Tour
Mackay North State High School’s fifth overseas commemorative tour has just been completed, with 32 senior History students having recently returned from a 3 week pilgrimage to the battlefields, cemeteries and memorials of Singapore, Gallipoli, France and Belgium.
Whilst on the tour, the students commemorated 115 fallen diggers in 47 cemeteries and at 12 memorials on behalf of families in Australia. They also conducted 3 major commemorative services – at the Menin Gate, Lone Pine Memorial and the Australian National Memorial.
Photographs of the graves and memorial names will be presented to relatives at a special presentation evening at the school on November 1.
Special highlights of the tour included:
– A private charter cruise along the Anzac coastline and swimming off North Beach over a sunken Anzac barge.
– Spending dawn and dusk at Anzac Cove.
– Twighlight at Polygon Wood – listening to a student sing the National Anthem overlooking Buttes New British Cemetery on a perfect Autumn evening.
– Involvement in the Menin Gate Last Post Service.
– Meeting the last British WW1 veteran, 110 year old Harry Patch.
– Battlefield walks at Pozieres, Fromelles & Broodseinde Ridge.
– Visiting the Pheasant Wood mass burial site at Fromelles.
– Spending lots of time with our FFFAIF overseas members, Johan Durnez & Yves Fohlen .
Mike will be writing more about his most recent pilgrimage in upcoming issues of DIGGER magazine. Why not subscribe to DIGGER for only $A40 p.a.? To find out more about becoming part of the Families and Friends of the First AIF and receiving your quarterly copy of DIGGER click here.
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 urge those responsible to ensure all necessary scientific and other means are employed to properly identify each soldier.