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Pozières Commemorations

On Saturday 23 July, nearly 1500 Australians made their way to Pozières in remembrance of the men who served and died in the village 100 years ago. Let's take a look at some of the photos of this exceptional day of commemoration.

 

 
 

During the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Pozières, Dan Tehan, Australian Minister for Veterans' Affairs, spoke to interviewer Isabelle de Wazières about what the centenary means to him.

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Dan Tehan, ministre australien des anciens combattants, tient dans ses mains la version anglophone du hors-série au magazine Vivre en Somme, spécial Bataille de la Somme.
Photo : Yazid Medmoun - Cd80

- What does the centenary mean to you?

This commemoration pays homage to the sacrifice that our soldiers paid 100 years ago, when they fought in the name of freedom. The freedom of not just Australia, but also France.

- Did members of your own family fight here?

No, but as minister for Veterans' affairs, this legacy has been passed on to me and I feel, as an Australian, connected to this history. These men showed such bravery, courage and determination in the defence of our nation.

- Do you have a message for the inhabitants of the Somme?

Firstly, I would like to thank them for the warm welcome they provide to visitors from Australia and for the way in which they remember our men who died here, on their land. This is important to them and that shows. In 2016, just as 100 years ago, Australia stands alongside France, and for the next 100 years to come, we will continue to defend our common values for liberty and peace.

- Have you visited the Remembrance Trail?

I don't have the time this visit, but I came two years ago and visited many of the sites of remembrance. I learnt much about the work carried out by the French. An extraordinary accomplishment, and one which I greatly appreciate.
 


Bernard Delattre, mayor of Pozières

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Bernard Delattre, maire de Pozières, a beaucoup travaillé pour le rapprochement entre l'Australie et la France.

I am relieved and happy. The memorial park is here for eternity. I hope that the French will appreciate it just as much as the Australians and will visit this place to remember the soldiers who died during the Battle of the Somme.”

 


Yvonne et Barry Gracey, Australians and honoured citizens of Pozières

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Yvonne et Barry Gracey, Australiens amoureux de Pozières, ont été faits citoyens d'honneur de la commune.

During the Pozières commemorations, Yvonne and Barry were awarded the Legion of Honour, the highest award of merit in France, for their service to Australia and to their adopted country of France. This Australian couple, who married in Pozières, have devoted much of their lives to raising funds for a memorial park to be built at the Windmill in Pozières.

 

 


John MacColl, leading a project to install a Franco-Australian School at Pozières

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John Mac Coll, porteur du projet de l'école franco-australienne à Pozières

Founder of the International French School of Sydney, which opened in 1989, and which schools bilingual students from maternelle (kindergarten) to senior secondary school, John MacColl is working to open a pilot school of a similar style in the former town hall of Pozières. The idea would be for this education to result in future employment with Airbus, Thales or other international groups, in regards to contracts between France and Australia.

 


Yves Potard, creator of the Son et Lumière display in Pozières

Yves Potard
Yves Potard, Président de l'association The Digger Cote 160 à Pozières. Crédit photo : Philippe Sergeant - Cd80

Yves Potard is a former history teacher who launched his first son et lumière with the help of volunteers and the backing of the Somme Departmental Council. This year, English-speaking spectators were able to listen to the narrative with headphones, while a projector displayed archive images.

Next year, Yves Potard will be working with his troupe and décors to highlight other theatres of the battle but, with the help of 200 volunteers, he will be back in 2018 with a new display themed on intolerance.

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