Saturday, 10 November 2012

Their Name Liveth For Evermore


At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month
we will remember them. 

I first made a trip to the battlefields of the Somme on the Western Front of France in 1999 on a family history trip.  A highlight was a visit to the Australian National Memorial Cemetery just outside the small town of Villers Bretonneux and I'm sharing a few photos for Remembrance Day from that trip and a second one in 2009.

                                     
 
 
The architect of the beautiful buildings on the site was Sir Edwin Lutyens. Besides about 2000  graves in the memorial, the names of 10,773 soldiers of the AIF killed in action but with no known grave are listed.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The local school in Villers Bretonneux houses the Anzac Museum and a huge sign dominates the playground - Do not forget Australia.
 
 
 

5 comments:

ronnie said...

these are stunning pics helen - I had heard about the 'do not forget australia' messages in certain french districts but never quite believed it...

rObfOs said...

Lovely post Helen. The architect has certainly put a lot of love and respect into creating this memorial to fallen soldiers and the school memorial makes me ponder how we as Australians have moved on and relegated these people and actions to history, but it is still a part of everyday life for the people of Villers Bretonneux.

Fiona Dempster said...

Helen I visite the Somme in 2010 - Ypres and Messines Ridge - for my gr-grandfather. I was the first of the family to make it there to pay our respects; the most moving of places and times. 'No Return' and "Absences' are two books I made from that visit - aching and haunting. I feel so honoured that the locals still remember and mark their passing. The Menin Gate in the evening...

Helen M said...

Thanks ronnie, Robyn and Fiona for your comments.

The people of Villers Bretonneux always had a ceremony on Anzac Day long before anyone here had heard about it and made it a popular destination, as the Australians liberated the town from the Germans on 24th April 1918 - I believe the villagers also care for the cemetery rather than the Commonwealth Graves Commission.

Fiona, I also found it very moving following in the footsteps of family members who fought on the Western Front - one of them ended up in the cemetery at Villers Bretonneux. I too have made a few books with perhaps more to come - I never feel as though I'm finished with this subject. I'd like to see your books about this too.

Jack Oudyn said...

What a beautifully moving post Helen.