Battle of Fromelles & Pozieres Centenary Services
Thousands attend Pheasant Wood and VC Corner Cemetery
Thousands of people attended two major commemorations in France over the past week to mark the centenary of the Battle of Fromelles and the Battle of Pozieres.
The July 19-20, 1916, offensive of the Battle of Fromelles was known as the worst 24 hours in Australia's entire history. In the
first major engagement by Australians on the Western Front the 5th Division was torn apart by German shelling and machine-gun fire in a disastrous assault on well-prepared German lines.
More than 1,900 Australian soldiers were killed and more than 3,000 were wounded when they charged the German frontline near the tiny villages of Fromelles.
groups coordinator, Ben Hayes attended
the official service at Pheasant Wood Cemetery, where 250 Australian & English soldiers had been laid to rest after being retrieved from mass graves by the Germans after battle of Fromelles in 1916.
Ben commented that “the most moving part of the service was the unveiling of the 6 headstones of the most recently identified Australian soldiers. As each headstone was unveiled details of each soldiers were read out including details of their lives in Australia before enlisting and then about their service in the AIF. One hundred years after the battle it was stark reminder of young lives left unfulfilled.”
Commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Pozières took place at the 1st Australian Division Memorial in Pozières on July 23. It is here in this small town where Australian forces joined the British and French allies for another battle that made records as one of Australia's deadliest. The village completely disappeared during the battle.