Bright sunshine and clear blue skies shone over the northern French village of Fromelles on the 19th July 2010, the 94th Anniversary of the Battle of Fromelles, as more than 5,500 people gathered to witness the burial of the 250th allied soldier whose body was recovered from the World War 1 German burial pits at Pheasant Wood.
The commemorations lasted throughout the day and were divided into three main segments:
- The Military Funeral of the Unknown soldier and Cemetery Dedication
- The Official Reception
- Graveside Reflections for Families of Identified Soldiers
The Military Funeral was conducted jointly by British Army’s Chaplain-General and Australian Army Chaplains. For a copy of the Order of Service for the day click here.
During the service Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC took the opportunity in her speech to recognise and acknowledge the work undertaken by Lambis Englezos AM in identifying the location of the Missing from the Battle of Fromelles and said that the soldiers who fought in the Battle were “good men who had fought for their mates”. A full transcript of the Governor-General’s speech is available by clicking here.
For more photos of the Governor-General at the service click here.
The Cemetery was officially dedicated by HRH Prince Charles.
Following the dedication an official reception was held at the Fromelles des Cobbers school during which the Mayor of Fromelles, M Hubert Huchette AM, was presented with an Honorary AM for his service to Australia-France relations, particularly his contribution to preserving the memory of Australian World War I veterans.
The afternoon was then devoted to the families of those soldiers whose identity had been restored. The families gathered in the words of the Governor-General to “cry in grief for your loss so long ago, and in joy, on your return today.”
Photo: FFFAIF members Anne Betts and Helen Humphries pay their respects at the graveside of their great uncle Private Jack Morley [Chris Munro]
To view more photos of the Relatives Reflection Time featuring the Governor-General click here.
To view media news report of the event click here.
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.