Yesterday was the 95th anniversary of landing on the Gallipoli peninsula by Australian and New Zealand troops.The 25th of April is beginning to mean a lot more in our national consciousness as current generations begin to appreciate and honour the sacrifices these men and others through the ages have made to ensure we live the lifestyle we now do.
Yet only 3 years after the landing in Gallipoli, again on ANZAC day, Australian and New Zealand troops liberated the town of Villers-Bretonneux in northern France from the Germans after fierce fighting. It was a remarkable feat with Brigadier General Grogan VC, who saw the action, describing the successful counter attack by night across unknown and difficult ground, and at short notice as “perhaps the greatest individual feat of the war”. The Allied Supreme Commander, Marshal Foch, referred to the “altogether astonishing valiance” of the Australians, ( most likely meaning valour ).
The town and people of Villers-Bretonneux have never forgotten the feats of the soldiers from so far away and to this day also celebrate ANZAC day. Having been to Villers-Bretonneux myself I would recommend that if you are ever in the region you spend some time visiting where another ANZAC legend has been forged, on another ANZAC day.
There is no greater honour for the men who never returned than this tribute in the school grounds of Villers-Bretonneux:
For them and everyone who never returned from their service to our nation we simply say
Lest we forget
For those still on active duty we say stay safe and return home soon, we are proud of you.
To learn more about the ANZAC contribution in France during World War I visit – www.anzacsinfrance.com.