On the 25th April 2015 we will be commemorating the 100th anniversary of ANZAC Day, a special day of Australian and New Zealand remembrance held on the anniversary of the Gallipoli Landings.
On this day, services are held throughout Australia, New Zealand and many other countries in remembrance of those who have fought and died in all theatres of war and peace keeping missions.
The date is also highly significant in the Somme as Australian and Allied troops fought for the liberation of the small town of Villers-Bretonneux over the 24th and 25th April 1918. This successful battle, which effectively brought a halt to the German push towards Amiens, took place three years to the day after the Gallipoli Landings.
Each year the ANZAC Day Dawn Service on the Western Front is held at the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux.
This year the Dawn Service will be held on Saturday 25th April 2015:
2.00am: the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux opens to the public
4.20am: a pre-service will commence (commemorative programme to explore the Australian experience of the First World War)
5.00am : the latest time by which the public are advised to arrive
5.30am: the Dawn Service commences
Following the Dawn Service, the town of Villers-Bretonneux invites you to join various events and activities in commemoration of this special day.
8.45am: a ceremony will be held at the Villers-Bretonneux War Memorial, Place de la Mairie
9.15am: the award ceremony for the Sadlier-Stokes scholarships will begin, followed by a concert by the Ensemble Musical de Corbie in the indoor market. Admission is free.
More information here.
How to access the Dawn Service:
Authorised coaches will be able to drop their passengers off at the Australian National Memorial by following the planned route.
For those not travelling on an organised tour, shuttle buses from Amiens, Longueau, Albert and Péronne have been organised by Somme Tourisme. More information is available at www.anzac-france.com
And for those coming with their own transport, parking areas have been organised for private vehicles at:
- Corbie & Fouilloy: near the Fouilloy Church (a 2km walk to the memorial).
- Villers-Bretonneux: at the train station (a 3km walk to the memorial).
A lit path providing pedestrians with safe access to the memorial will be available from both parking areas.
The road leading up to the Australian National Memorial (D23) between Villers-Bretonneux and Fouilloy will be closed from 2pm on 24th April to 2pm on 25th April,
Please note: all DVA registered visitors requiring mobility support, and authorised vehicles including tour coaches will have access to the drop off points by the Australian National Memorial.
Please visit this page to register: http://www.franceregistration.com/
The memorial is exposed to the elements and can get very cold in the early morning. Please bring appropriate warm and waterproof clothing.
During the day, the weather can get warmer and it is recommended to bring water, a hat and sunscreen.
Services will be provided at the memorial site:
These include temporary toilets and hand washing facilities, First Aid services, rubbish bins and light refreshments provided by the Somme Departmental Council
To keep updated with news and any changes as they arise, an optional registration service has been provided here http://www.franceregistration.com/
Please visit www.dva.gov.au/france and www.anzac-france.com for more information.
Please click the following link to download a copy of the ANZAC Day in France Dawn Service leaflet, for traffic arrangements, complete programme and useful information.