Army’s colours return to the battlefield
23 July 2016
Today, a contingent of approximately 110 Australian Defence Force (ADF) members will commemorate the service of those who fought and died on the Western Front as part of the larger Battle of the Somme campaign.
Following commemorations in Fromelles on 19 July, ADF members will participate in a memorial service to mark 100 years since the Battle of Pozières.
For the first time since World War One, the official Colours of the Australian Army’s 2nd Division have returned to the battlefield.
The Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Angus Campbell, DSC, AM, said it was important to acknowledge the courage and strength of the Australian Imperial Force and their significant place in this period of history.
“Army’s Colours symbolise the spirit of an Army regiment. They reflect our history, and they are a great source of pride and identity for our soldiers,” Lieutenant General Campbell said.
“A number of 2nd Division units have paraded their Colours during Western Front commemorations. The Colours have undertaken a journey from their home locations across Australia to France and Belgium, echoing the journeys undertaken by thousands of Australian soldiers in World War One.
“Returning the Colours to the battlefields of the Western Front is a powerful demonstration of the connection between the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) of 1916 and the Australian Army of 2016.”
The Battle of Pozières took place over seven weeks during July and August 1916. Pozieres, a small village in the Somme valley in France, was the scene of bitter and costly fighting for the 1st, 2nd and 4th Australian Divisions.
By the conclusion of the battle on 3 September 1916, the three Australian Divisions suffered 23,000 casualties. Of this number, 6,800 were killed or died of wounds.
Australian losses at Pozieres were comparable with the casualties sustained by the AIF over eight months at Gallipoli in 1915.
Imagery of the Pozières commemorative service will be available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20161455
Please note the commemorations begin at 2000 AEST Saturdy 23rd July
Imagery will be uploaded by Sunday morning
More information on the Australian Army’s Colours is available at: http://www.army.gov.au/Our-history/Traditions/Colours-Standards-Guidons-and-Banners