This month is special for the French-Australian community as it commemorates the engagement of Australian troops on the Western Front during the First World War. Due to the sanitary crisis, the Australian Government has taken the decision to cancel the Australian led public commemorative services in France. Following this announcement, local initiatives have been set up to commemorate in an alternative way, the engagement of Australian troops on the Western Front.
These initiatives show that the Franco-Australian friendship is strongly rooted in northern France and that the French people do not forget.
The operation “Australia at your window” launched at the beginning of April by the Val de Somme intercommunal tourist office and supported by the Sir John Monash Centre was a success. Many inhabitants of the communes near Villers-Bretonneux answered the call and decorated their houses with the colours of Australia.
The “Dear Australia” initiative, which invited the inhabitants of the region to write a letter to Australian veterans’ associations, was very well attended. The tourist office of the Val de Somme has already sent 70 letters and drawings.
In addition to these actions carried out throughout the month of April, in the run-up to the commemoration of Anzac Day, private ceremonies were held at several sites along the Australian Memorial Trail. Here is an overview of these ceremonies in photos:
We thank all French citizens for the tribute they have paid to the Australian soldiers who fought alongside France on the battlefields of the First World War.