The Western Front
An Unforgettable Experience at Villers Bretonneux
One of the most moving experiences for those travelling on one of our Western Front tours is a visit to the Franco-Australian Museum at Victoria Primary School in Villers-Bretonneux.
In fact, the entire village of Villers-Bretonneux shares very close ties with Australia after British and Australian troops successfully defended the small town against the German advance in early April 1918.
Since then, the memory of the great sacrifices made has kept France and Australia together in bonds of friendship and mutual esteem.
The ‘Victoria School’ is a gift from the school children of Victoria who helped rebuild the school between 1923-1927. The school classrooms have beautiful prints of Australia, including The Great Ocean Road, Ayres Rock and Melbourne city (pictured), while the Hall has wooden paneling and carvings of Australian animals and plants.
A Franco-Australian museum is housed inside the school on the first floor above the classrooms. The collections held by the museum were established in the 1970s by material from private collections and donations. There is also lot of information here about the Western Front battles and other areas of interest in the Somme.
A sign in the playground bares the inscription ’’N’oublions jamais l’Australie’’ - let us never forget Australia – which is a permanent fixture at the Villers Bretonneux School even today.
If you are lucky enough to visit during a school day, then you’ll have a chance to meet the children and teachers, who just love to meet fellow Australians. There wouldn’t be a single person that isn’t touched by the level of support and admiration by the locals for whom the memory of the diggers remains strong.
For those who are seriously considering travelling to the Western Front in 2013, then we have an exclusive offer for you. If you book an Australian War Memorial 2013 battlefield tour before 7 December 2012 you receive a free copy of ANZACs on the Western Front: The Australian War Memorial Battlefield Guide
by Dr Peter Pedersen
It is the definitive guide to the Western Front battlefields, which is fully illustrated and includes over 600 pages of meticulously researched material.
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