100 years since the ADF’s bloodiest battle of WW1
19 July 2016
Around 80 members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) will honour the service of those who fought on the Western Front during the First World War, with commemorative services to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Fromelles on 19 July.
The ADF contingent will be joined by the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, the Honourable Dan Tehan MP at solemn ceremonies held at Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery and the memorial wall at the VC Corner Cemetery.
The Governors of New South Wales, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d), South Australia, His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le AC and Queensland, His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, will also attend.
The Western Front was a crucial theatre of the First World War. Between 1916 and 1918, some 290,000 Australians served on the Western Front, where approximately 47,000 Australian lives were lost and more than 130,000 Australians were wounded.
In France to attend the Fromelles services, the Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Angus Campbell, DSC, AM, said it was important for today’s ADF to continue to recognise and remember the servicemen and women of 100 years ago.
“In World War One, our Nation sustained loss of life and injury on a catastrophic and unprecedented scale," Lieutenant General Campbell said.
"Barely a home, or a family in Australia, was untouched by loss or grief.
“The Australians who served on the Western Front – those who gave their lives together with those who returned home – helped shape not only the course of world history but also our sense of nationhood.
“One hundred years on, their service continues to resonate with today’s sailors, soldiers and airmen and women.
"The nearly 300,000 Australians who served on the Western Front continue to hold a special place in Australia’s history.”
The Battle of Fromelles took place over the period 19 – 20 July 1916 and was the first battle fought by Australians on the Western Front. It became known as Australia’s bloodiest 24 hours with 5,533 Australian casualties, including 1,917 lives lost.
The ceremonies at Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) and VC Corner will include a Catafalque Party, with dignitaries laying wreaths.
Both the Australian and French National Flags will be raised by members of Australia’s Federation Guard and members of the 31st Battalion will be parading their Colours.
Centenary of Anzac commemorations on the Western Front will conclude with a commemorative service for the Battle of Pozières on 23 July 2016.
Imagery of the Fromelles commemorative services will be made available at:http://images.defence.gov.au/S20161455