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Webmatters : Australians on the Somme: Villers-Bretonneux Anzac Day 2012

Villers Bretonneux

Anzac Day 2012

A marked contrast to last year when the ceremony took place on a balmy spring morning. This year it was bitterly cold with a wind that gave no quarter and rain constantly looking as though it could fall in torrents at any moment.

Five thousand Australians attended and listened to HE Mr Ric Wells, their Ambassador to France, explain the story behind Villers-Bretonneux, as to how it became to be so associated with the Australians and Australia.

He was followed by the Honourable Warren Snowdon MP, Australian Minister for Veteran’s Affairs who gave the Commemorative Address.

As dawn turned into an atrocious day many of the gathering edged forward in a slow moving line to leave their own personal wreaths to family members—unforgotten heroes. This year the coffee and croissants provided by the Department of the Somme were most welcome.

It hadn’t rained but at Bullecourt a few hours later it would not let up for an instant.


Some photos from the dawn service


Approaching the memorial from the cemetery The ceremony would be transmitted live to Australia At the commencement the flags are at half mast By 0500 there was a large crowd Students read out names of some of the fallen HE Mr Ric Wells Ambassador to France Vice Admiral Ray Griggs gave the prologue The Commemorative address was made by The Hon Warren Snowdon MP Day breaks but it is still very cold M Thierry-Marc Pineaud on behalf of the French Government Huddled up in the wind This year we had a big screen to help us see what was going on The Last Post National Anthems The flags are raised to full mast At last a cup of coffee Something warm to hang on to

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