19 July was the 105th anniversary of the Battle of Fromelles, the first engagement of the Australian Imperial Force on the Western Front following the withdrawal from Gallipoli. It was and remains the largest loss of Australian life in a 24 hour period with 1,917 killed or died of wounds, 3,416 wounded and 496 taken prisoner totalling 5,533 casualties. In 2008, the graves of 250 soldiers buried by the Germans after the battle were located and in 2010 reinterred in the new Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery and 166 of these soldiers have now been identified by name.
Unfortunately, the number of new cases of COVID19 in Sydney increased in the fortnight before the scheduled Commemoration and led to a lock-down for Greater Sydney that has subsequently been extended until the end of August. This meant that the Commemorative Procession and Commemoration Service that FFFAIF helps organise in conjunction with the Trustees of the Anzac Memorial was cancelled.
Fortunately, staff at the Anzac Memorial were able to lay a FFFAIF-supplied wreath in the Hall of Memory and the Office of Veterans Affairs Communications team posted the event on social media. This enabled the Anzac Memorial Trustees to honour the 1966 request of the final parade of the 5th Division veterans on the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Fromelles to always remember the sacrifice of the 8,100 soldiers of the 5th Division Killed in Action during the First World War and those who have died since.
Fromelles Day 2021 Sydney Wreath on 5th Division wreath stand in the
Anzac Memorial France and Belgium niche.
Photos by NSW Anzac Memorial & Office of Veterans’ Affairs
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There was also a wreath laying scheduled at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne in conjunction with the Friends of the 15th Brigade that was impacted by the lock-down in Melbourne. Lambis Englezos AM, Co-Founder of the Friends of the 15th Brigade and Honorary Member of FFFAIF laid a wreath at 2pm.
Fromelles Day 2021 Melbourne Lambis Englezos with wreath at Cobbers Statue
Photo from Lambis Englezos
[Click on images to enlarge and see details]
St Clare’s College Fromelles Documentary
Fortunately for those unable to attend these commemorations, they were able to have their own personal reflection and view the recently launched 30 minute St Clare’s College Fromelles Documentary. This extraordinary documentary reflects their 3 years of research, interviewing descendants and using innovative technology and gives an overview of the battle as well as an appreciation of its impact on families and the significance of the Battle of Fromelles in Australian history today in addition to highlighting the students’ work.
At 6pm French time on 19th, precisely the time when the Australians were attacking the German lines (2am AEST Tuesday 20th), a Commemorative Ceremony was held in Fromelles with a drink of Friendship at the Cobbers School afterwards. Face masks and social distancing was required. F.W.T.M.14-18 Secretary and FFFAIF Honorary Member, Carole Laignel [CL] of Fromelles and FFFAIF Belgian Member Daneille Roubroeks [DR] attended the Commemoration and have provided photographs of the Commemoration, as has Carole’s friend Dominique Bascour [DB] and Fromelles Museum’s Geoffrey Bouillet [FM].
Carole sets the scene:
At 6pm, the bells of the church were ringing and the important persons of the ceremony entered the very beautiful well flowered cemetery!
It was very hot, around 27°C, no wind, sunny and clear! We were lucky!
For the association A.S.B.F.* and then F.W.T.M.14-18, it was a special event, as it was the 30th anniversary of their first celebration of the Battle of Fromelles.
*In 1990 the Association pour le Souvenir de la Bataille de Fromelles (A.S.B.F. 1914-1918) created the Fromelles Weppes Terre de Mémoire14-18, a museum in the town hall at Fromelles, which exhibited many of the artefacts found on the old battlefield.
Earlier in the afternoon, a wreath was laid by Martial and Catherine Delebarre on behalf of the F.W.T.M.14-18 at the Kennedy Memorial to Commemorate those who fell in the Battle of Aubers Ridge on 9 May 1915 as well as those soldiers of the British 61st Division in the Battle of Fromelles on 19 July 1916.
Wreath laid by Martial and Catherine Delebarre on behalf of the F.W.T.M.14-18 at the Kennedy Memorial, Fromelles. Photos: Dominique Bascour [DB]
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The Commemoration at the Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery commenced with the entry of about 40 flag bearers from various sections of the L’Union Nationale des Combattants (UNC – similar to the RSL Sub-Branches in Australia). Some had travelled significant distances and is testament to the esteem in which the memory of the Australian soldiers’ is held in France.
UNC flag bearers from Lille, Linselloise, Fleurbaix and surrounding areas
Photos: Dominique Bascour [DB], Daneille Roubroeks [DB]
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The final flags to enter were those for Fromelles UNC, UK and Germany.
Photos: Daneille Roubroeks [DR]
Dignitaries entered including, M. Richard Smith, Sous Préfet (most senior provincial official) and Her Excellency Ms Gillian Bird, Australian Ambassador to France and the Mayor of Fromelles. M. Jean-Gabrielle Masson. Captain Ken Macaulay-Black RAN represented Colonel Joel Dooley, Australian Defence Attaché and was followed by Ms Rebecca Doyle, Counsellor at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA).
M.C. LtCol Francois Nozaic and M. Jean-Gabriel Masson, Mayor of Fromelles.
Photos: DB, DR
The historical context of the Battle of Fromelles was presented by Ms Rebecca Doyle, Counsellor, Department of Veterans Affairs.
Ms Rebecca Doyle, Counsellor, Department of Veterans Affairs Photos: DB, DR
French and Australian Commemorative Addresses were presented by Mr Richard Smith, Sous Préfet and Her Excellency Ms Gillian Bird, Australian Ambassador to France.
Commemorative Addresses Sous Préfet and Australian Ambassador to France.
Photos: DB, DR
Individual tributes were laid to the fallen with children of Cobbers School laying 2 roses (one white & one red) at the graves of soldiers “Known unto God”. There was a stone on the headstone to make it easier for them to find the grave.
Cobbers School students laying tributes at the graves of soldiers “Known unto God”. Photos: DB, DR
The Official Wreath laying followed, led by M. Richard Smith, Sous Prefet and Australian Ambassador Ms Gillian Bird.
Sous Prefet and Australian Ambassador laying wreaths. Photos: DB, DR
Jean-Gabriel Masson, Mayor of Fromelles and Pierre Dugardin laid a wreath on behalf of the village of Fromelles and the UNC Fromelles
Mayor of Fromelles and President UNC Fromelles laying wreaths. Photos DB, DR
Florence Morlighem, Deputy Du Nord and Frederick Marchand, Senator Du Nord laid wreaths. A wreath was also laid on behalf of Monsieur Damien Castelain, President of the European Metropolis of Lille. CAPT Ken Macaulay-Black RAN laid a wreath on behalf of the Australian Defence Forces and Ms Rebecca Doyle laid a wreath on behalf of the Australian Department of Veteran’s’ Affairs.
Wreath laying on behalf of Deputy Du Nord, Senator Du Nord, Metropolis of Lille, the Australian Defence Forces and the Australian Department of Veteran’s’ Affairs.
A representative of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) and a Commodore of the Canadian Defence Forces also laid wreaths.
Wreath laying on behalf of Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) and the Canadian Defence Forces. Photos DR, DB
A British Army Colonel laid a wreath alongside Lt.COL Philippe Blanchard, President, UNC Sequedin section.
Wreath laying on behalf of the British Army and UNC Sequedin section. Photos DR, DB
Martial Delebarre AM and Jean Marie Bailleul laid a wreath on behalf of Fromelles Weppes Terre de Mémoire14-18 (F.W.TM.14-18). A wreath was also laid by a Belgian soldier, (wearing a green beret) member of a Commandos’s association in memory of the soldiers who fought in the Battle of Fromelles.
Wreath laying on behalf of Fromelles Weppes Terre de Mémoire14-18 and a Belgian Commando’s Association in memory of the soldiers who fought in the Battle of Fromelles. Photos DB
A wreath was on behalf of the 31st Battalion Association by Corrine Seillier (Pierre’s wife) and a niece of Annie Moreel for Madame Demassiet.
Wreath laying on behalf of the 31st Battalion Association and Madame Demassiet.
Wreaths of Senator Du Nord, Mayor of Fromelles, Department of Veterans’ Affairs, 31st Bn Association & CWGC, and Sous Prefet, Region du Nord, Metropolis of Lille, UNC Sequedin. Photos: CL, DB
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Wreaths from the people and Government of Australia and the Australian Defence Forces Photos: CL
Wreaths laid for UNC Fromelles, Deputy representing du Nord, Canada, UK, FWTM and Madame Demassiet. Photos: Photos: DR, DB
The Ode of Remembrance was recited in English by Captain Ken Macaulay-Brown RAN, who had participated in last year’s Commemoration and was representing Colonel Joel Dooley, Australian Defence Attaché in France, and then by Pierre Dugardin, President UNC Fromelles section in French.
The Ode recited by CAPT Ken Macaulay-Black RAN and then Pierre Dugardin President UNC Fromelles. Photos: DR
The Last Post was sounded, followed by A Minute’s Silence and the Rouse.
The Last Post. Photos: DR, DB
The National Anthems of France and Australia were played.
Master of Ceremonies, LTCOL Francois Nozaic concluded the Commemoration and invited the Flag bearers to lead the Dignitaries in procession.
Concluding the Commemoration. Photos: DR, DB
Prior to the Commemorative Service, FWTM Martial and Catherine Delebarre had laid a tribute on behalf of FWTM at the headstones of the Wilson brothers Sam and Eric, both killed in the battle and lying side by side.
Tributes for Sam and Eric Wilson. Photos: DB
Fromelles personalities resting after the Commemoration
Pierre Sellier, who is well known in Australia for posting tributes to Australian Soldiers who fought in the Battle of Fromelles rests in the entry to the Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery with Madame Demassiet and families. Madame Demassiet is the current owner of the land in which burial pits were dug by the Germans following the Battle and from where the remains of 250 soldiers were recovered and reinterred with full military honours in the Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery in 2010.
Fromelles Day 2021 Pierre Sellier and Madame Demassiet. Photo CL
As the sun sets over the Cemetery, the words of Rudyard Kipling’s Recessional come to mind:
The tumult and the shouting dies;
The Captains and the Kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!
Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery. Photos: CL, DR
Thanks to them!
May they rest in Peace
Lest we forget.
Acknowledgements and Appreciation
Thanks to Carole, Danielle, Dominique and Geoffrey for their photographs and reports.
Thanks to the Australian Embassy, FTWM, Cobbers School, Musee de la Bataille de Fromelles and the Fromelles community for organising the Commemoration.
Thanks to the Fromelles community for caring for our Australian and British soldiers’ graves and welcoming Australians and other visitors to your community.
His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd) was sworn in as the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia on 1 July 2019 and is the FFFAIF Patron-in-Chief, succeeding the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK AC(Mil) CVO MC (RETD). FFFAIF thanks His Excellency General for granting us this honour and welcomes him to our association.
Major General Matthew Sykes (MoD), Lt General David Hurley (Vice Chief of the Australian Defence Force) and Major General Mike O’Brien (ADF) reflect on the commencement of the Fromelles exhumation process Tuesday 5 May 2009.
[Images from Mirror.com.uk and Philippe Pauchet- Click on images to enlarge]
His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd) Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia
David Hurley joined the Australian Army in January 1972, graduating from the Royal Military College, Duntroon into the Royal Australian Infantry Corps. In a long and distinguished 42-year military career, his service culminated with his appointment as Chief of the Defence Force.
He commanded the 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment during Operation SOLACE in Somalia in 1993, receiving the Distinguished Service Cross. Following promotion to Colonel, he was appointed Chief of Staff, Headquarters 1st Division in June 1994, attending the U.S. Army War College in 1996 and 1997. He commanded the 1st Brigade from 1999-2000 in Darwin, supporting Australian-led operations in East Timor. He was appointed the inaugural Chief of Capability Development Group from 2003-07, Chief of Joint Operations Command in October 2007, and Vice Chief of the Defence Force in July 2008. Promoted to General, he succeeded Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston as Chief of the Defence Force on 4 July 2011 until his retirement on 30 June 2014. In 2010, he was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia for eminent service to the Australian Defence Force.
Prior to being sworn in as Governor-General, David Hurley served as the 38th Governor of New South Wales from October 2014 – May 2019.
David Hurley was born in Wollongong, New South Wales on 26 August 1953, the son of Norma and James Hurley. His father was an Illawarra steelworker and his mother worked in a grocery store. He grew up in Port Kembla and attended Port Kembla High School where he completed his Higher School Certificate in 1971. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and Graduate Diploma in Defence Studies from the Royal Military College, Duntroon in 1975. He is married to Linda with whom he has three children: Caitlin, Marcus and Amelia.
He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Wollongong in 2013; a Doctor of the University, honoris causa, from the University of New South Wales in 2015; made a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering in 2016; and awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Macquarie University in 2017.
Her Excellency Mrs Linda Hurley’s biography
Her Excellency Mrs Linda Hurley (nee McMartin) was born and raised in Sydney. She was educated at Kingsgrove High School and went on to become a teacher, commencing in 1976. She married David Hurley in 1977.
In the course of their married life, Mrs Hurley has supported her husband throughout his career on a wide variety of postings in Australia and overseas, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and Malaysia.
Mrs Hurley’s own career in education has been in both the public and private school systems, until her retirement from full time teaching in July 2011. She has been an active member of the community as a Pastoral Carer at the Canberra Hospital and Hospice. Mrs Hurley holds a Bachelor of Education from the University of Canberra.
Mrs Hurley has an interest in the Arts, especially music. She is passionate about singing, and showing how singing, especially in a group, can have a positive impact on individuals and the community.
Mrs Hurley is a member and Patron of ‘Solid Rock’, a Christian Ministry to women in Defence. She has been a member of the St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church choir in Canberra and is a member of the Australian Military Wives Choir.
Mrs Hurley is dedicated to championing causes that are developing new technologies to recycle rubbish, and ways to reduce our use of plastic, particularly plastic packaging and plastics used for single use items, which are not only harmful to the environment but add unnecessarily to landfill sites.
Their Excellencies have three children: Caitlin, Marcus and Amelia.
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The Honourable Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO retired from the role of Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia in March 2014 and stepped down as FFFAIF Patron-in-Chief, a role she held from February 2009. Dame Quentin has accepted an Honorary Membership to continue her association with the FFFAIF.
Her Excellency Quentin Bryce Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia with Australian Ambassador His Excellency David Ritchie, at Fromelles for Remembrance Day November 2008 and with Lambis Englezos hosting the Fromelles Retrospective at Government House, Canberra, Remembrance Day November 2010.
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The Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery was officially dedicated by HRH Prince Charles and Her Excellency Quentin Bryce Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia on 19th July 2010
Her Excellency Quentin Bryce Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia and dignitaries following the dedication; The Australian Chief of Army Lieutenant General Ken Gillespie speaks to the descendants of the identified soldiers [Click on images to enlarge]
The Honourable Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO
BA. LLB (Qld). Hon LLD (Macquarie). Hon DLitt (Charles Sturt). Hon DUniv (Griffith). Hon DU (QUT). Hon LLD (Qld). Hon DUniv (JCU). Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) (Syd). Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) (UWS). Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) University of Melbourne
Quentin Bryce was born in Brisbane in 1942 and spent her early years in Ilfracombe, a small town in Central Western Queensland. In 1965, she graduated with the degrees of Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws from The University of Queensland and, in the same year, was admitted to the Queensland Bar. She has since enjoyed a rich and distinguished career as an academic, lawyer, community and human rights advocate, senior public officer, university college principal, and vice-regal representative in Queensland, and now Australia.
Ms Bryce’s former roles – some, among firsts for women in this country – include:
Lecturer and Tutor in Law, The University of Queensland, 1968-1983
• Convenor, National Women’s Advisory Council, 1982-1984
• Inaugural Director, Queensland Women’s Information Service, Office of the Status of Women, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, 1984-1987
• Director, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Queensland, 1987-1988
• Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 1988-1993
• founding Chair and CEO, National Childcare Accreditation Council, 1993-1996
• Principal and CEO, The Women’s College, University of Sydney, 1997-2003
• Governor of Queensland, 2003-2008
Quentin Bryce’s contribution to advancing human rights and equality, the rights of women and children, and the welfare of the family was recognised in her appointment as an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1988 and a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2003. Also in 2003, she was invested as a Dame of Grace of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem. On 25 March 2014, Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced that Ms Bryce had become a Dame in the Order of Australia.
Ms Bryce was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws by Macquarie University (New South Wales) in 1998, an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by Charles Sturt University (New South Wales) in 2002, and an Honorary Doctorate of Laws by The University of Queensland in 2006.
She was conferred with the degrees of Honorary Doctor of the University by Griffith University (Queensland) in 2003, Queensland University of Technology in 2004 and an Honorary Doctorate from James Cook University in 2008.
In 2010 Ms Bryce received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws, Sydney University, and an Honorary Doctorate of Letters, University of Western Sydney in 2012. In 2013 she was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws, Melbourne University.
In her civic role as Governor of Queensland, Ms Bryce continued her work with women, families and young people while extending her influence across the State’s broad and diverse spectrum, including the rural, regional, aged, indigenous, migrant, and disability sectors.
As a mother and grandmother, Ms Bryce is a role model and mentor to women at every stage of their lives. She values and encourages women’s capacity to form strong and enduring bonds of friendship, intellectual and emotional enrichment, and mutual support in their roles within the family, workplace and community.
On 5 September 2008 Quentin Bryce was sworn in as Australia’s twenty-fifth Governor-General. As the first woman to take up the office, she remains a pioneer in contemporary Australian society, and yet one who brings more than forty years of experience in reform, community building and leadership to the role.
Quentin Bryce and her husband, Michael, were married in 1964.
Michael Bryce AM AE KStJ B Arch (Qld) Hon. DUniv (Canb and Qld) LFRAIA LFDIA
Michael Bryce is an architect and designer acknowledged in Australia and overseas for his distinguished work in graphic, urban and environmental design.
He was born in Brisbane, started school in Gordonvale and was educated at Brisbane State High School and the University of Queensland. In 1968, he commenced his own architecture practice in Brisbane, developing a special interest in graphic design. From 1979 to 1983, he was Federal President of the Industrial Design Institute of Australia. He was also a member of the Design Board and the Design Council. His practice has won awards for graphic and environmental design, including the RAIA (Qld) Civic Design Award, the House of the Year Award, and the RAIA President’s Award. The practice has also received many citations in the print industry and Design Institute awards.
In 1988, his practice joined the worldwide Minale Tattersfield Design Strategy Group with offices in London and Paris and clients worldwide including Harrods, San Pellegrino, FA Premier League, BNP, and the Eurostar train.
Beginning in 1992, Michael Bryce became the principal design adviser to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, designing the Olympic bid logo and advising on the application of the corporate branding. His sport-related design work also includes graphics for the Brisbane 1982 Commonwealth Games and Expos ‘85 and ‘88. His sports logos have included the Australian 1996 Commonwealth Games team, the Dolphins Australian Swimming team, the Wallabies Rugby team, and the world cricket body, the ICC.
He has been a board member of the Queensland (Symphony) Orchestra and Trustee of the Queensland Art Gallery, a Ministerial Adviser on the Child Accident Prevention Foundation and various product safety committees. He was Founding President of Melanoma Patients Australia. He has also been a volunteer with the State Emergency Service in Queensland.
Following 5 years in the Air Training Corps he served as an Intelligence Officer in the Royal Australian Air Force Reserve from 1956 to 1970, including appointment as honorary Aide de Camp to the Governor of Queensland. He was awarded the Air Efficiency Award (AE) in 1970. He was patron of the RAAF Association in Queensland for some years and is now patron of the Combat Support Group Association.
Mr Bryce is patron of a number of community organisations and other arts related bodies. He has served as President of St John Ambulance [Qld] First Aid Services Division and was made a Knight of Justice in the Order of St John of Jerusalem (KStJ). In 2006, he was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to the design profession and the community.
He has had a long association with universities around Australia. He has taught and mentored young graduates and is committed to the expression of a distinctive Australian identity within an international framework. He has been awarded Honorary Doctorates by the Universities of Queensland and Canberra and is presently Adjunct Professor of Architecture and Design at the University of Canberra.
Michael Bryce has been awarded Life Fellowships of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects and the Design Institute of Australia and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He has been described by Indesign Magazine as a design “luminary” and a design “catalyst”. In 2006, he was inducted into the Australian Design Hall of Fame. In September 2008 he retired from his practice upon the appointment of Ms Bryce as Governor-General of Australia. The practice he founded continues today as Minale Bryce Design Strategy.
A copy of this Fromelles Day Sydney 2020 Commemorative Procession and Commemoration report is available on request from firstname.lastname@example.org (At 10MB the PDF version is too large to upload to this website).
Commemorative Procession from the Archibald Fountain to the Anzac Memorial
The Commemorative Procession leaving the Archibald Fountain. All Images by Michael Mannington for Community Photography
The Families and Friends of the First AIF in conjunction with the Trustees of the Anzac Memorial, hosted the Commemoration of the 104th anniversary of the Battle of Fromelles at The Anzac Memorial Hyde Park, Sydney on Monday 20 July 2020. It was the first Fromelles Day Commemoration during the era of the COVID19 pandemic. The Commemoration was a “closed event” with limited numbers of invitations and attendance capped at 35 attendees, which is the capacity limit for the Anzac Memorial Auditorium complying with the NSW Government COVID19 Safety Plan Guidelines for Museums and Galleries. This meant that is was not possible to invite The Holy Family Choir Menai, who have supported the Fromelles Day Commemoration for the past decade, or the NSW Police Band, descendants and members of the public. In previous years, relatives of soldiers who participated in the Battle were among those attending, however this year they were invited to send the names of the soldiers they are commemorating for placement on a Commemorative Star to be cast into the Well of Contemplation following the laying of wreaths.
The Battle of Fromelles in northern France on 19-20 July 2016 was the first battle involving Australian troops on the Western Front following the withdrawal from Gallipoli. It was and remains the largest loss of Australian life in a 24-hour period with 1,917 killed or died of wounds, 3,416 wounded and 496 taken prisoner totalling 5,533 casualties. While the Battle started on the 19 July, the Commemoration was held on Monday 20th as the Anzac Memorial was currently not open on weekends. This meant that the Commemoration was at the time when 104 years ago the 5th Division troops who had broken through the German lines were desperately fighting a German counter attack and were being surrounded and at risk of being cut off and many were killed. These included the 250 men buried by the Germans after the battle whose graves were located in 2008 and were exhumed and in 2010 were reinterred in the new Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery. 166 of these soldiers have now been identified by archaeological and anthropological analysis as well as DNA matching with relatives and now have their named headstone.
The Commemoration was preceded by a Commemorative Procession of about 30 people on a sunny, mild winter morning from the Archibald Fountain that commemorates the association of Australia and France in The Great War to the Anzac Memorial. The procession symbolically represents the “400 yards”, 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.
Permission was obtained from the City of Sydney and NSW Police for the Commemorative Procession with compliance with physical distancing requirements and NSW Health Guidelines. All participants went through temperature checking and hand sanitising and were offered face masks at the Archibald Fountain before forming 2 columns in physical distancing formation. The Procession was then escorted by NSW Police Officers as a COVID19 Safe “bubble” to the Anzac Memorial.
COVID 19 Precautions: FFFAIF Parade Marshall Lt. Col. Paul Simadas RFD and FFFAIF President Jim Munro undertaking temperature checks for the Minister for Veterans The Hon Geoff Lee MP and DVA Deputy Commissioner NSW/ACT Victoria Benz. [Click on images to enlarge]
The Commemorative Procession was led a Flag Party. The Australian National Flag Ensign was Warrant Officer Class 2 Nathan Grumley, of 1 Health Support Company (1HSC), Randwick Barracks, whose great grandfather Pte William Grumley, 30Bn, was wounded in the Battle of Fromelles, and is thought to have been one of the veterans who participated in the 1966 Parade from the Archibald Fountain to the Anzac Memorial. M. Jean-Louis Worobec, Past Président Association des Anciens Combatants Francais de Nouvelle Galles du Sud (French War Veterans of NSW) carried the French Tricolour.
Flag Ensign WO2 Nathan Grumley with M. Jean-Louis Worobec, French War Veterans of NSW at the head of the Commemorative Procession
The Hon Margaret Beazley, AC QC, Governor of New South Wales with Mr Dennis Wilson led the Commemorative Procession, accompanied by Dignitaries and representatives of the Australian Defence Forces, ex-service and descendant organisations.
The Commemorative Procession at Park Street [Click on images to enlarge]
The Commemorative Procession at Hyde Park South and approaching the Pool of Reflection
Accompanying the Procession from Park Street to the Anzac Memorial was Piper Jim Braid, NSW Scottish Regimental Association Pipes and Drums.
Fromelles Commemorative Procession passing the Pool of Reflection and Flag Party of WO2 Nathan Grumley and French Veteran Jean-Louis Worobec at the Northern Forecourt of the Anzac Memorial [Click on images to enlarge]
Special thanks go to the Procession Marshall, Lt. Col. Paul Simadas RFD, Vice President Families and Friends of the First AIF and Chairman, Australian Branch, Western Front Association who co-ordinated many of the arrangements for the Procession including liaising with the NSW Police and City of Sydney Events Team to ensure the security for the Procession and safe passage across Park Street and establishing the Order of Procession.
Commemorative Wreath laying on the steps of the Anzac Memorial
When the Commemorative Procession arrived at the Anzac Memorial Forecourt, the participants transitioned into Wreath laying order efficiently while keeping physical distancing and staying within the COVID19-Safe “bubble”.
Maintaining physical separation in preparation for Fromelles Wreath laying Their Excellencies Hon Margaret Beazley and Mr Wilson and Dignitaries
Piper Jim Braid, supported by Bugler, Terry McCleary took up his position to be able to play a Lament during the wreath-laying.
The Governor of New South Wales, Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC supported by Mr Dennis Wilson laid a wreath on behalf of the People of NSW.
Master of Ceremonies Darren Mitchell called forward the following dignitaries to lay their wreaths together (shown left to right below):
Brigadier Brendan Casey, Commander 8th Brigade, Representing the Australian Army Commander Forces Command, Major General Matt Pearse AM, and Commander Second Division, Major General Kathryn Campbell, AO, CSC and members of 8th Brigade, laying a wreath on behalf of The Australian Defence Forces for those who have served and currently serve.
Mr Arnaud Dusaucy Deputy Head of Mission, Royal Embassy of Belgium, laying a wreath on behalf of the Citizens of Belgium.
Mr. Bill Dobbie, Consul-General of New Zealand laying a wreath on behalf of the Citizens of New Zealand.
Acting Minister for Veterans The Hon Geoff Lee MP representing The Hon. Gladys Berejiklian MP, Premier of New South Wales and The Government of New South Wales laying a wreath on behalf of the NSW Premier and Government of NSW.
Mr Michael Ward, British Consul-General and Director General of Trade & Investment laying a wreath on behalf of the Citizens of United Kingdom.
Mrs Anne Boillon, Consul-General for the Republic of France, laying a wreath on behalf of the Citizens of France.
Master of Ceremonies Darren Mitchell then called forward the following dignitaries to lay their wreaths together (shown left to right below):
Mr. Gregory Wrate, President of Sydney Legacy laying a wreath on behalf of Legatees;
Arline Ronsisvalle, representing Australian World War One Descendants (AWWOD) laying a wreath on behalf of World War One descendants;
Geoffrey Benn, Secretary Fromelles Association of Australia supported by Professor Richard Wright AM, Honorary Member, Families and Friends of the First AIF laying a wreath on behalf of Fromelles descendants for the Missing of Fromelles;
The Hon Brendan Nelson AO Honorary Member, Families and Friends of the First AIF supported by Jim Munro, President laying a wreath for the Fallen at Fromelles;
Meg Green, National President, War Widows’ Guild of Australia, laying a wreath for War Widows of Australia;
Mr John Hutcheson Board Director, The Returned and Services League of Australia NSW Branch, representing Mr Ray James, Acting President, laying a wreath for those who served; and
Ms Victoria Benz, Deputy Commissioner NSW & ACT, representing the Department of Veterans’ Affairs laying a wreath for War Veterans.
Their Excellencies The Honourable Margaret Beazley and Mr Wilson observe the wreaths laid in tribute.
Wreaths: Republic of France, United Kingdom, RSL NSW
Wreaths: DVA and (left to right) DVA, France, RSL NSW, UK, Governor of NSW, War Widows, NSW Government
Wreaths: New Zealand, For the Missing, Belgium, and Australian Army and For the Fallen
Commemorative Service for the 104th Anniversary of the Battle of Fromelles
Following the wreath laying on the Memorial steps, the participants led by FFFAIF President Jim Munro followed the Flag Party of WO2 Nathan Grumley as Australian National Flag carrier and French Tricolour Flag carrier Jean-Louis Worobec to the Reception door of the Memorial and they stood-to until all participants moved in an orderly way to the Auditorium in single file with physical distancing maintained. The Auditorium seating had been arranged to facilitate the Commemorative Service while keeping physical distancing.
The Flag party followed the guests to the Auditorium and formed up outside the Auditorium to await the arrival of the Vice-Regal couple who had proceeded from the northern Forecourt with MC Darren Mitchell and Pastor Bob Durbin to make a formal entry. The Flag party then entered the Auditorium and placed their flags in a flag stand and the Commemoration Service commenced. Click on this link to see the Fromelles Day 2020 Order of Service.
Harry Allie BEM, Chair of the NSW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Veterans Commemoration Service Committee and a former member of the NSW Centenary of Anzac Advisory Council led an Acknowledgement of Country on behalf of Aboriginal elders. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island flags were also flown at the Yininmadyemi Bulletsculpture for Indigenous Diggers to demonstrate respect for the custodians of this land, both past and present and their contribution to this country and its heritage and values.
The Prologue was delivered by The Governor of New South Wales, Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC. She noted that while the Battle of Fromelles was of strategic importance aiming to prevent the transfer of German troops to the Battle of the Somme, it had huge human cost with 1,299 names of soldiers with no known grave listed at VC Corner of 1,917 killed. Her Excellency called on those present to leave behind what poet Wilfred Owen described as the “art of hurting” and peacefully and with dignity commemorate the brave soldiers who committed themselves in the Battle of Fromelles.
BRIG Brendan Casey, Commander 8th Brigade delivered the Commemorative Address observing that the purpose of the battle was as a feint to prevent the Germans moving troops to the Somme, but it was hastily and poorly planned. The Germans had been there for a year and a half, the Australians for a week. The 15th Bde on the right attacked the strongly defended Sugarloaf and was virtually wiped out in the first 20 minutes. BRIG Casey noted that at precisely this time it was 3:25am on 20 July in France and 104 years ago the 14th Bde and 8th Bde were desperately holding on against counter-attacks and artillery strikes, but the positions could not be held and later in the morning the call came to get back if you can. The Cobber statue is tribute to the bravery of those men, in Australia’s bloodiest day in battle.
In the Family Reflection, Geoffrey Benn shared the story of 20 year-old Acting Sergeant William Polding Ryan, 31 Bn who was Killed in Action at Fromelles. William, from near Murwillumbah, was buried by the Germans after the battle and identified through DNA matching. Geoffrey also reflected on the Family’s journey of “discovering” a relative of whom he had not known of for most of his life and the emotional impact of the identification of William’s remains and of the 2016 dedication at the Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery of his named headstone with the inscription “LOST SO FAR FROM HOME, AND FOUND SO CLOSE TO OUR HEARTS”.
Geoffrey also shared how he has come to know previously unknown relatives who also were connected to Fromelles. One is Dr. Stuart Quarmby, the Headmaster of Wollondilly Anglican College at Tahmoor who is related to William through his grandmother. He is also related to Corporal Alfred Tuck through his father’s family. Both William and Alfred are buried at the new cemetery in Fromelles, and both were identified by matching with a family member’s DNA.
ANZAC Sculpture depicting A/Sgt William Ryan and Hannah at Wollondilly Anglican College
Dr. Quarmby invited Geoffrey to unveil a life-size statue of William, at the opening of the College’s new Anzac Memorial Shelter on 18 July, 2018. William is depicted holding the hand of a five year old girl, modelled on Hannah, Dr. Quarmby’s grand daughter and a great, great, great, great niece of William Polding Ryan. The statue of the soldier represents all of the diggers who fought and died in the Battle at Fromelles. Dr. Quarmby said “When looking at the statue, imagine every student saying: ‘Thank you for paying such a price’, and imagine him saying ‘Thanks for finding me’.”
The Consul-General for the Republic of France, Mrs. Anne Boillon, delivered a Message from France, expressing appreciation for Australian support since The Great War and continuing today, especially in the face of the COVID19 pandemic. As democracies, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Belgium and France have many shared values, as was the case during the Great War. It was when she visited Fromelles that she learned the meaning of “Cobber” and what it says about Australian spirits and values and that these are universal values of humanity and friendship. She shared that she had recently visited St Clare’s College, Waverly and saw the strength of the bond between Australia and France today.
Consul-General for the Republic of France, Mrs. Anne Boillon, delivering a Message from France
The Epilogue was delivered by Acting Minister for Veterans The Hon Geoff Lee MP representing The Hon. Gladys Berejiklian MP, Premier of New South Wales and The Government of New South Wales. Mr Lee quoted from a letter from Pte Roderick Samuel 54Bn to the mother of one of his mates to advise not only of her son’s death in the battle, but also of his own brother’s. He noted that there were many stories like this and that of A/Sg William Ryan told in the Family Reflection that demonstrate the impact of the Battle on many Australian Families. Mr Lee, acknowledged the presence of the defence personnel and on behalf of the New South Wales Government thanked all those who have been involved in organising the Commemoration for helping to ensure that the Battle of Fromelles is never forgotten.
The National Anthems of France, New Zealand and the United Kingdom and Australia were sung by NSW Police Band Vocalist Belinda Parsons.
NSW Police Band Vocalist Belinda Parsons singing the National Anthems of France, New Zealand and The United Kingdom and RSM WO1 David McGarry
Belinda sang The Recessional to close the Service in the Auditorium as participants, maintaining physical distancing, passed beneath the Ocular as they moved through the Hall of Service, to the northern stairs where the wreaths were arranged and into the Hall of Memory.
French Veterans’ Past President Jean-Louis Worobec casts Commemorative Stars
Descendants and the general public who were not able to be invited to physically attend due to the capacity limits applying at the Anzac Memorials during the pandemic were invited to send the names of soldier they wished to commemorate. About 400 soldiers were nominated for commemoration and their names were added to Commemorative Stars, the same shape and colour as the 120,000 stars fixed in the Dome of Star above the Hall of Memory and symbolically representing the 130,000 men and women from New South Wales who embarked for overseas service during the Great War. Soldiers commemorated included those men of the 53Bn who originally served in the 1st Bn, those soldiers known to be buried in the Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery, 52 Railway and Tramways employees and 11 Jewish soldiers killed in the Battle of Fromelles as well as other soldiers nominated by descendants. Participants attending the Commemoration were invited to cast the Commemorative Stars with soldiers’ names into the Well of Contemplation at the Anzac Memorial. The Commemorative stars were then collected for cremation at Rookwood and the ashes will be taken by the Premier’s Anzac Scholars to the WW1 battlefields.
Minister for Veterans The Hon Geoff Lee MP and DVA Deputy Commissioner NSW/ACT, Victoria Benz cast Commemorative Stars
Their Excellencies, the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC, Governor of New South Wales and Mr Dennis Wilson cast Commemorative Stars
In acknowledgement of the commitment made by the Trustees of the Anzac Memorial to honour the Battle of Fromelles and the men of the Fifth Division AIF, WO2 Nathan Grumley, 1 Health Support Company (1HSC), Randwick Barracks was invited to lay the wreath for the 5th Division in the France-Belgium Niche. WO2 Grumley’s great grandfather Pte William Grumley56Bn, fought in the Battle of Fromelles and was wounded in November 1916 when the 56Bn transferred to the Somme.
William Grumley is thought to have been one of the veterans who participated in the 1966 Parade from the Archibald Fountain to the Anzac Memorial which asked the Trustees to place the 5th Division AIF Wreath Stand at the France and Belgium niche on the anniversary of the action at Fromelles, the 19th July each year. The Trustees readily agreed to this request and since 1966 the Trustees have honoured the veterans request with the laying of a wreath on 19 July each year on the 5th Division AIF wreath-stand used in the 1966 Ceremony. See Fromelles 50th Anniversary – A record of the Parade and Ceremony held in Hyde Park on 19 July 1966.
WO2 Nathan Grumley about to place a wreath in tribute to the 5th Division AIF, in the presence of Her Excellency, the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC, Governor of New South Wales
The Last Post Ceremony
The Ode was recited by Brigadier Brendan Casey, Commander 8th Brigade before the Last Post was sounded by Terry McCleary of the Fire and Rescue NSW Band followed by 1 minute of silence and The Rouse. Terry’s wife Leonie is a relative of Captain Archibald Gunter MC, 54th Bn, Wounded at Fromelles.
The Last Post was sounded by Bugler Terry McCleary of the Fire and Rescue NSW Band.
NSW Police Band Vocalist Belinda Parsons led the singing of the Australian National Anthem to conclude the Commemorative Service.
NSW Police Band Vocalist Belinda Parsons, WO2 Nathan Grumley and SQNLDR Greg Baker-Moss, Her Excellency’s Aide-de-Camp
Special thanks go to the Trustees of the Anzac Memorial, their staff, and volunteers for facilitating and assisting in the Commemorative Service. The assistance of NSW Police Band in the provision of pre-recorded music and along with the renditions by Vocalist Belinda Parsons significantly contributed important components to the Commemorations that would have otherwise been diminished by the pandemic restrictions. Similarly, the presence of the Pastor Bob Durbin, WO2 Nathan Grumley as the Australian Flag Ensign, who along with the French War Veterans’ Past President Jean-Louis Worobec, Piper Jim Braid and Bugler Terry McCleary contributed significantly to the formality and dignity of the commemoration. Special Guests, The Governor of New South Wales, Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC with Mr Dennis Wilson, the Diplomatic representatives, Harry Allie BEM, Minister Geoff Lee MP, Geoffrey Benn and Brigadier Brendan Casey all enriched the Commemoration.
Procession Marshall Paul Simadas, Master of Ceremonies Darren Mitchell and FFFAIF Committee Member Jill Hayes helped the Commemoration run smoothly. Michael Mannington for Community Photography has created a good photographic and Vagrant Films has created a video record and some of the video has been posted to the FFFAIF Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/FromellesDaySydney2020/ which is now available for viewing. Thanks also to the 7 Network News team whose 6pm Bulletin report has enabled the Commemoration to be shared with a larger number of people.
Special thanks also to the Organising Committee of FFFAIF Members Margaret Snodgrass OAM, Darren Mitchell, Jill Hayes, Paul Simadas, Chris Bryett and Geoffrey Benn, Anzac Memorial Operations Manager Belinda Mitrovich and Visitor Services Coordinator Jim Grey and Warrant Officer Class One David McGarry, Regimental Sergeant Major, Joint Ceremonial NSW of the Australian Army.
A special thanks to Pastor Bob Durbin who arranged for the wreaths to be relocated following the Commemoration from the Anzac Memorial to the RSL Life Care ANZAC Village at Narrabeen to be distributed throughout the Village for the benefit of residents and staff.
Due to the pandemic, we missed the company of many of our regular participants including Past President Russell Curley and FFFAIF Committee Member Margaret Snodgrass OAM. Professor The Hon Dame Marie Bashir, AD CVO, former Governor of New South Wales and Honorary Member FFFAIF has participated each year since 2010 (except in 2014 when she was overseas) and the Holy Family Choir of Menai who have led the singing for a decade. The NSW Police Band, the Flag Orderlies, and representatives of ex-service and descendants’ organisation as well as descendants of the soldiers of the First AIF. We know that some held personal commemorations and we hope that they will be able to participate in future commemoration to honour the service and sacrifice of the soldiers of the First AIF and their families.
Lest We Forget
President of FFFAIF
Gallery of Thanks
The Governor of New South Wales, Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC with Mr Dennis Wilson
NSW Minister for Veterans The Hon Geoff Lee MP representing The Hon. Gladys Berejiklian MP, Premier of New South Wales
Minister for Veterans, The Hon Geoff Lee MP and Consul-General of France, Anne Boillon
Consul-General of New Zealand Mr. Bill Dobbie, Consul-General of United Kingdom Mr. Michael Ward, Commander 8th Brigade Australian Army BRIG Brendan Casey, Deputy Head of Mission, Belgium Embassy M. Arnaud Dusaucy
Sydney Legacy President, Mr Greg Wrate, AWWOD Secretary, Arline Ronsisvale, RSLNSW John Hutcheson, DVA Deputy Commissioner NSW/ACT, Victoria Benz
FFFAIF Honorary Member The Hon Brendan Nelson AO and FFFAIF President Jim Munro
Fromelles Association Secretary Geoffrey Benn, FFFAIF Honorary Member Prof Richard Wright AM, Chief Operations Officer, Transport for NSW, Howard Collins OBE
Harry Allie BEM and Pastor Bob Durbin
Brigadier Brendan Casey (with Prof Richard Wright in the background) and WO2 Nathan Grumley, Australian Army
Also participating NAJEX President Roger Selby, (just out of photo), ARHS Member Bill Phippen OAM (far left) and FFFAIF Committee Member Jill Hayes (centre)
NSW Police Security Team
WO1 David ‘Paddy” McGarry, Regimental Sergeant Major, Joint Ceremonial NSW and M. Jean-Louis Worobec Past President French War Veterans of NSW; Piper Jim Braid with Bugler Terry McCleary; and NSW Police Band Vocalist Belinda Parsons backed by Director of Music John Saunders and the Band
Procession Marshall Lt. Col. Paul Simadas RFD and Master of Ceremonies Darren Mitchell
Posted inCommemorations, Fromelles|Comments Off on Fromelles Day Sydney 20 July 2020: Commemorative Procession from the Archibald Fountain to the Anzac Memorial and Commemorative Service
In France, about 60 people attended the Fromelles Day Commemoration at 6pm in the Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery on a a sunny but windy day. Attendees were mainly inhabitants of Fromelles, members of Fromelles-Weppes-Terre de Memoire 14-18 (F.W.T.M. 14-18), members of Union des Anciens Combattants (UNC or RSL equivalent) including flag bearers from other villages around Fromelles. The only Australian visitors this year were from the Australian Embassy: Mr Brendan Berne, Ambassador to France and Colonel Joel Dooley, Australian Defence Attaché. Face masks were worn by most attendees.
FFFAIF’s French Member Carole Laignel has supplied the following images of the Commemoration.
Click images to enlarge and and read the detail.
Right click and “Save image as” to download.
Our thanks to Carole Laignel and those who attended for their continuing efforts of Keeping The Memory Alive, especially in these most difficult of times.
In Melbourne at the Shrine of Remembrance, the normal Fromelles service at the Cobbers statue was not held this year, due to COVID19 restrictions, nor was the previously advertised ceremony with 20 attendees in the Sanctuary. The Shrine of Remembrance staff held a private wreath laying ceremony in the Sanctuary at 1.30 pm on 19 July, broadcast live on their Facebook page.
On Monday 20 July we were privileged to be able to conduct a limited Commemoration of the Battle of Fromelles in Sydney on the 104th anniversary of the battle. It was our first during the era of the COVID19 pandemic.
While the Battle started on the 19 July, the Commemoration was held on Monday 20th as the Anzac Memorial is currently not open on weekends. This means that the Commemoration was at the time when 104 years ago the 5th Division troops who had broken through the German lines were desperately fighting a German counter attack and were being surrounded and at risk of being cut off and many were killed. These included the 250 men buried by the Germans after the battle and recently exhumed and 166 of whom have now been identified by archaeological and anthropological analysis as well as DNA matching with relatives.
Due to the Corona Virus the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ANZAC Memorial in Sydney, Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne and National ANZAC Centre in Albany are currently open to the public but have with restrictions on numbers and the times of visits. Please check each venue for the current opening times and any other requirements.
Gatherings such as lectures, meetings and Commemorations planned by FFFAIF and kindred organisations are impacted and require COVID Safe Plans and in some cases alternatives are being considered.
This Calendar of events is therefore indicative of key dates and events and will be updated to advise of alternative arrangements, deferrals and cancellations.
Monday 25 April Anzac Day
FFFAIF has traditionally supported AWWOD organising descendants participation in the Sydney Anzac Day March.
Last year an exemption was granted to allow the Anzac Day March in Sydney to have up to 10,000 veterans and descendants of veterans participate.
In 2022 FFFAIF will encourage “Dawn drive-way vigils”.
The RSL is promoting ‘Light up the Dawn’ gatherings on driveways and balconies and ABC Radio coverage of the Canberra Dawn Service and National Ceremony will be heard on local ABC Radio, RN and on the ABC Listen app from 5.30am – 6.00am. This will incorporate a minute’s silence at approximately 5.50am to synchronise the dawn drive-way vigils.
TV broadcasts of Sydney Dawn Service, Canberra Dawn Service and National Ceremony and Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance Service will all be live from 4.30am AEST on ABC TV and ABC NEWS channels, on iview, and streamed live on ABC Australia Facebook and YouTube.
State TV broadcasts of capital city marches and dawn services will also be streamed live on ABC capital city Facebook accounts and on the ABC’s capital city local radio websites.
Every capital city will have live coverage of a local march, however coverage of capital city dawn services will vary in each state. Broadcasts times can be found on the ABC Anzac Day website.
Gallipoli Day /ANZAC Day services will be held in the UK, including:
a Dawn Service at Hyde Park Corner and later the annual Service of Commemoration with a wreath laying at the Cenotaph followed by a Service held at Westminster Abbey;
Baverstock, Codford, Fovant and Sutton Veny on the Salisbury Plain; and
at about 15 other locations in England and Scotland;
Also at the Menin Gate, Ieper; and
Saturday 30 April Australian Army Nurses Seminar, WFA seminar with FFFAIF John Laffin Memorial Lecture
Tuesday 19 July Fromelles Day Commemoration in Sydney at the Anzac Memorial and Melbourne Wreath-laying at the Shrine of Remembrance.
Sunday 24 July Pozieres Service St Columba Woollahra TBC
Monday 26 September Commemoration of the Battles of 3rd Ypres
Friday 11 November Remembrance Day
TBA Kindred Groups activities:
Saturday 12 November FFFAIF AGM and WFA Lecture Day with Aero Historians Lecture
April 4 April 1918 First Action at Villers-Bretonneux
7 April 1916 Australians reach the Western Front at the ‘nursery sector’
8 April 1918 Repatriation Department established
11 April 1917 First battle of Bullecourt
12 April 1918 Battle of Hazebrouck
13 April 1916 Jifjafa, Sinai captured by The Australian Light Horse
17 April 1917 Second Battle of Gaza
21 April 1917 Foundation of the Imperial War Graves Commission
24 April 1918 Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux
25 April 1915 Landing at Gallipoli.
25 April 1916 First ANZAC DAY commemorations.
25 April 1918 Fighting around Villers-Bretonneux. Allied troops re-capture the town
29 April 1915 Submarine AE2 sunk in Sea of Mamara
May 3 May 1917 Second attack on Bullecourt
4 May 1915 Australian attack on Gaba Tepe, Gallipoli
5 May 1915 Australian and New Zealand troops on Cape Helles, Gallipoli
8 May 1915 Battle of Krithia
15 May 1915 Major General W.T. Bridges, commander of 1st Div AIF wounded at Gallipoli
17 May 1917 Bullecourt captured
19 May 1915 Turkish counter attack on Gallipoli
24 May 1915 Formal truce on Gallipoli
29 May 1915 Turkish attack on Quinn’s Post, Gallipoli
31 May 1918 General Monash takes command of the Australian Corps
June 1 June 1918 RAN aircraft first used in combat
7 June 1917 Captain R.C. Grieve, 37th Battalion, wins the Victoria Cross at Messines
25 June 1917 United States troops begin to arrive in France
25-26 June 1916 Private J.W.A. Jackson, 17th Battalion, wins the Victoria Cross south-west of Bois Grenier, near Armentieres, France
27 June 1911 Royal Military College Duntroon opens.
28 June 1918 Corporal P. Davey, 10th Battalion wins the Victoria Cross at Merris, France
28 June 1919 Treaty of Versailles signed
July 1 July 1916 First day of the Battle of the Somme
7 July 1918 Battle of Hamel, France
10 July 1911 Formation of Royal Australian Navy (RAN)
14 July 1918 Fighting at Abu Tellul, Palestine by Australian Light Horse against German Asia Corps
19 July 1916 Battle of Fromelles
23 July 1916 Battle of Pozieres begins
31 July 1914 Labor leader Andrew Fisher declares Australians will defend Britain ‘to our last man and our last shilling’.
August 1 August 1917 Third Battle of Ypres begins.
3 August 1914 Australia offers assistance to Great Britain in the event of War.
3 August 1916 Australian Light Horse in Battle of Romani, Egypt .
4 August 1914 Great Britain Declares War on Germany.
6 August 1915 Battle for Lone Pine, Gallipoli.
7 August 1915 Australians charge at the Nek, Gallipoli.
8 August 1916 Battle for Moquet Farm.
8 August 1918 Battle for Amiens begins.
10 August 1914 Voluntary recruitment for the 1st AIF begins.
13 August 1914 Establishment of the Australian Red Cross.
19 August 1914 Expeditionary force sails from Australia to capture German possessions in the Pacific.
21 August 1915 Last major fighting on Gallipoli takes place at Hill 60.
24 August 1916 Official inauguration of the Australian Comforts Fund (ACF).
26 August 1916 6th Australian Brigade attacks Moquet Farm on the Somme.
31 August 1918 Battle of Mont St. Quentin begins.
September 1 September 1918 Battle of Mont St. Quentin continues
11 September 1914 Australian Naval & Military Expeditionary Force lands at Rabaul.
14 September 1914 HMA Submarine AE1 lost off New Guinea
17 September 1918 Australian attack on Hindenburg Line in the Picardy region of France.
19 September 1918 5th Light Horse brigade capture Nablus.
20 September 1912 Official formation of the Australian Flying Corps.
21 September 1914 German New Guinea surrenders.
25 September 1918 Anzac Mounted Division capture Amman.
October 1 October 1918 Australian Light Horse take Damascus.
5 October 1918 Capture of Montbrehain, France by AIF.
10 October 1917 Battle of Poelcappelle, Western Front. (Third Battle Ypres).
21 October 1915 Australian Red Cross Missing & Wounded Bureau established.
21 October 1916 5th Australian Division enter the front line near Flers, Somme.
28 October 1916 First conscription referendum.
30 October 1918 Armistice with Turkey.
31 October 1917 4th Light Horse charge at Beersheba, Palestine.
November 1 November 1914 1st AIF Convoy sails from Albany, Western Australia.
7 November 1916 Third Battle of Gaza.
9 November 1914 HMAS Sydney sinks the Emden.
11 November 1918 Germany signs the Armistice. REMEMBRANCE DAY.
11 November 1941 Opening of the Australian War Memorial
14 November 1917 End of Third Battle of Ypres, Western Front.
December 2 December 1914 First Australian military aircraft despatched to war.
3 December 1914 First AIF disembarked in Egypt
3 December 1915 Siege of Kut begins in Mesopotamia.
7 December 1915 Evacuation of ANZAC troops from Gallipoli begins.
9 December 1917 Jerusalem occupied by the Desert Mounted Corps.
12 December 1917 HMAS Australia damaged in a collision with HMS Repulse.
13 December 1915 Australian Light Horse fight at Um Rakham.
20 December 1915 Last Australian troops evacuated from Gallipoli.
20 December 1917 Second conscription referendum held in Australia.
21 December 1916 Australian Light Horse capture El Arish
23 December 1916 Battle of Magdhaba, northern Sinai
31 December 1914 The second convoy of the First AIF departed Albany Western Australia.
9 January 1917 Light Horse captures Rafa.
17 January 1917 No. 4 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps sail for France
18 January 1919 Versailles Peace Conference opens
February 3 February 1915 Turkish forces attack the Suez Canal
5 February 1917 Captain H.W. Murray wins Victoria Cross in France
19 February 1915 Allied warships shell Dardanelles
March 17 March 1917 Australians occupy Bapaume, Western Front
18 March 1915 Allied fleet second attempts to breach Turkish defences of Dardanelles
20 March 1916 Anzac Corps land in France
21 March 1918 Final German offensive begins
26 March 1917 Captain Cherry, 26th Battalion wins VC at Lagnicourt
28 March 1918 Sergeant McDougall, 47th Battalion wins VC at Dernancourt
31 March 1921 Formation of the Australian Air Force
The Families and Friends of the First AIF supports DNA testing on the remains of Australian and British soldiers found on the battlefields of the Great War and efforts to identify as many of the fallen as is possible.