Picture of memorial plaque at Windmill site at Poziers, Northern France
The memorial reads:
THE RUIN OF POZIERES WINDMILL
WHICH LIES HERE WAS THE CENTRE
OF THE STRUGGLE IN THIS PART OF
THE SOMME BATTLEFIELD IN JULY
AND AUGUST 1916. IT WAS CAPTURED ON AUGUST 4TH BY AUSTRALIAN
TROOPS WHO FELL MORE THICKLY ON
THIS RIDGE THAN ON ANY OTHER
BATTLEFIELD OF THE WAR
“The last Australian attack on Pozières was on 3 September, 1916. The Australian 1st, 2nd and 4th Divisions had been used by their commanders as a battering ram and lost nearly 23,000 officers and men in a mere 6 weeks on a front that extended little more than a mile. This casualty figure represented 50% of the total of all 3 divisions strength.”
The 25th of April is an Australian national day of remembrance for when Australian and New Zealand soldiers landed at Gallipoli. Many see this day as the birth of our nation. It is always heartening to see the growing respect for those who served and continue to serve our country.
I have been fortunate to have visited the Australian Battlefields of northern France and was so inspired that I created a web site www.anzacsinfrance.com to commemorate this history of those that fought in that theatre but probably haven’t received the recognition they deserve. The above example of the sacrifice at Pozieres is just one such example.
The best comparison I can make is that during the 8 months Australians fought at Gallipoli there were 9 Victoria Crosses awarded (the highest military recognition for bravery). In the last major engagement Australian troops were engaged in 1918 on the Western Front at Mont St Quentin 8 Victoria Crosses were awarded in a battle that lasted but a few days. What was achieved during this engagement was something that is truly remarkable yet most Australians have never heard of it.
Gallipoli has become the focus of ANZAC day and now more so the battle of Villers-Bretonneux (on ANZAC day in 1918) which is great to see. However, once you start examining the history of the battles that Australians fought in all over the world and during all different conflicts you discover some truly amazing stories.
So, for all those who served and never returned, those that served and returned to help build Australia and those still serving in our countries interest, all we can do is say thanks and promise to never forget.