One hundred years ago today, in 1917, the Australian troops fighting on the Western Front had just emerged from the blood bath of Passchendale. These battles had cost over 38,000 Australian lives and achieved very little. In 1917 alone, Australian losses totalled around 55,000.
Since the 31st of July the British Forces in France (including the ANZACS) had suffered 448,615 casualties for only 130 square kilometres of ground, while only inflicting 217,700 German casualties. By the end of November 1917 the Boshevik revolution had played out and ultimately led to the withdrawal of Russia from the war allowing Germany to focus all eastern front armies at France. These would fall upon the British lines in March 1918 and wipe away most of the prior gains secured by the Allies. Times were grim.
In fact, early 1918 would stretch the Allied armies to breaking point as Germany attacked but ANZAC troops would once again distinguish themselves in a town called Villers Bretonneux. This small village in northern France has never forgotten what the Anzacs did in turning the German tide and neither should we.
We should not forget the sacrifice these, and all Australians who go into harms way, make to protect us. Some pay the ultimate price and never return. Others return but live with the horrors of war for the rest of their lives. Luckily, most of us will never have to experience this because someone else had the courage to do it for us.
On the 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month we pause and remember them. We thank them for their sacrifice. Without them, we would not live in the lucky country.
Lest We Forget.
For more information on the Australian battlefields of World War One wish my webite www.anzacsinfrance.com.