The Arch of Victory/Avenue of Honour Committee’s 8.00 am Anzac Day wreath laying service will specifically remember 14 Ballarat men who died 100 years ago, mostly in or around the French town of Villers-Bretonneux. It was the liberation of Villers-Bretonneux on Anzac Day 1918 that cemented the French – Australian relationship that led to the establishment of Australia’s National Memorial just outside the town. The memorial wall carries the names of more than 10,000 Australians who lost their lives on the Western Front but have no known grave.
The AoV/AoH Committee Vice President, Garry Snowden said, “Of course Anzac Day is a day to remember the service and sacrifice of our service men and women in all conflicts, but as this year is the centenary of the battle at Villers-Bretonneux we will remember 14 men commemorated in our Avenue of Honour who made the supreme sacrifice 100 years ago.”
“The importance of that battle is perhaps best demonstrated in the grounds of the Victoria School at Villers-Bretonneux where, 100 years later, children still play under a large sign which says ‘DO NOT FORGET AUSTRALIA’”
The soldiers to be remembered are Victor Hughes, Patrick O’Malley, John Edward Stewart, George Klug, George Alfred Hughes, Alexander Lloyd, William Frederick Wilmott, Edwin Archibald Craig, Edward Spencer Holgate, William Henry Luke, John Lawrence Simpson, Bertie Rogers, Richard Cornish DCM and Alan Robertson Scott.
“Any descendants of these soldiers are warmly invited to attend the service and lay a tribute in memory of their special soldier”, Mr. Snowden said. “We are delighted that delegations from some of the schools attended by these boys will be there to remember their past students.” Those wishing to lay a wreath, or some other tribute, are asked to be at The Arch of Victory by 7.45 am on Anzac Day.
Mr Snowden also extended a challenge to the wider Ballarat community. “On Anzac Day we rightfully concentrate on remembering those who served, but two weeks later, on Mothers’ Day, we want Ballarat to reflect on the grief experienced by the mothers and families of soldiers and nurses lost in all wars. We would love to see the base of the statue of the Grieving Mother covered by floral tributes.”