My in-laws are in France at the moment.
Today they’re going to the small village Villers-Bretonneux to mark Anzac Day.
It is the 90th anniversary of the battle at this town.
They reclaimed the town from the Germans, a critical victory to halt the enemy’s advance to the strategic town of Amiens a few miles away.
It’s regarded as the turning point in the war.
According to the National War Museum, 1,469 Australian troops died during that one conflict.
In 24 hours.
They were all volunteers.
There is also a Memorial to the Missing – soldiers whose bodies were never recovered or could not be identified – in the town, which lists the names of 10,982 Australian men who had died on the Western Front. Something like 26,000 died on the Western Front from a total of over 56,000 Australians killed during WW1.
That figure, in general let alone if you consider Australia’s population at the time, is just staggering.
And so utterly tragic.
The village was destroyed in the battle and funds raised by public schools in Victoria were used to rebuild the school in the town.
Above the blackboard in every classroom is a plaque which says Noublions Jamais L’Australie.
Never forget Australia.
Lest we forget.