Australian War Memorial Image

Centenary of the Battle of Villers-Bretonneux

Anzac Day 2018 marked the centenary of the First World War battle at Villers-Bretonneux on the Western Front near Amiens, 135 km north of Paris. Over two days, First AIF troops were at the forefront of fierce fighting, costing 1200 Australian lives. 

Australian War Memorial Image

Near Villers-Bretonneux, French and Australian soldiers alongside the wrecked Sopwith Camel aeroplane, 1918
Source: Australian War Memorial

Earlier in April, Australian units had helped British forces defend the strategic town from a German advance towards Amiens. On 24 April 1918, Germans attacked again, at dawn, using tanks for the first time, and captured the town. British forces counter-attacked, led by Australians, and by the next day cleared the devastated town of enemy troops. The battle is recognised as the end of the German advance and precursor of war’s end in November.

Australian War Memorial Image

French children attending graves of Australians killed in battle on the Western Front, Adelaide cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux.
Source: Australian War Memorial

Australian communities helped reconstruct Villers-Bretonneux township. The Australian National Memorial stands nearby. The local people observe Anzac Day annually and the school treasures the motto ‘Let us never forget Australia’ (‘N’oublions jamais l’Australie’).

Australian War Memorial Image

This memorial cross was erected on the battlefield at Villers-Bretonneux in memory of all the Australians who died there in the counter-attack.
Source: Australian War Memorial

LESS WE FORGET

Written by Andrew Lemon