FRANCE - VILLERS-BRETONNEUX MEMORIAL
Work on the Sir John Monash Centre, to be located at the Australian National Memorial near Villers-Bretonneux in the Somme, commenced in January 2016 and will continue through to the official opening of the Centre in April 2018. During this period, there may be short periods of disruption to visitors at the site and the adjacent Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery.
As part of the works, the Australian National Memorial will also be cleaned and refurbished. This will necessitate at times limited access to the tower during the month of September 2017, and over the winter months from 14 November 2017 through to mid-February 2018, the temporary scaffolding and closure of the tower. However, visitors will still be able to visit the CWGC Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery and view the Commemorative Wall. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.
- Identified Casualties:
Villers-Bretonneux is a village 16 kilometres east of Amiens on the straight main road to St Quentin.
Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery is about 2 kilometres north of the village on the east side of the road to Fouilloy.
The tower is closed in bad weather condition.
This memorial stands within Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery.
Access to the tower at the memorial will be restricted during bad weather conditions.
During working hours wheelchair access to Villers-Bretonneux Cemetery, in which the memorial stands, is possible by an alternative entrance. For further information regarding wheelchair access, please contact our Enquiries Section on 01628 507200.
The names are engraved on the memorial in order of battalion, then alphabetically under rank.
March 2016 - Work on the new Sir John Monash Centre, to be located at the Australian National Memorial site near Villers-Bretonneux in France, commenced in January 2016 and will continue through to the official opening in April 2018. During this period, there may be short periods of disruption to visitors at the site and adjacent Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) Villers-Bretonneux Military cemetery.
Villers-Bretonneux became famous in 1918, when the German advance on Amiens ended in the capture of the village by their tanks and infantry on 23 April. On the following day, the 4th and 5th Australian Divisions, with units of the 8th and 18th Divisions, recaptured the whole of the village and on 8 August 1918, the 2nd and 5th Australian Divisions advanced from its eastern outskirts in the Battle of Amiens.
The memorial is the Australian National Memorial erected to commemorate all Australian soldiers who fought in France and Belgium during the First World War, to their dead, and especially to name those of the dead whose graves are not known.
The Australian servicemen named in this register died in the battlefields of the Somme, Arras, the German advance of 1918 and the Advance to Victory. The memorial stands within Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, which was made after the Armistice when graves were brought in from other burial grounds in the area and from the battlefields.
Both the cemetery and memorial were designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens. The memorial was unveiled by King George VI on 22 July 1938.
DISCOVERY OF REMAINS AND ADDITIONAL COMMEMORATIONS
Of the 10,982 names displayed at the unveiling of the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial the burial places of many have since been identified and this continues to this day; 6 of these being among the significant discovery of 250 burials which culminated in the first new Commission cemetery in 50 years being dedicated in July 2010 as Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Cemetery.
All these discoveries are now commemorated by individual headstones in the cemeteries where their remains lie and their details recorded in the relevant cemetery registers; their names will be removed from this memorial in due course.
Time has also revealed more names not previously notified which have now been added to this memorial and register.
There are now 10,738 Australian servicemen officially commemorated by this memorial and named within the register.