There is a century old relationship formed between a town in France, Villers-Bretonneux and Australia. The commitment to never forget the help provided by Australians, who saved them in World War I. The town of Villers-Bretonneux also remembers to this day that Australia helped rebuild their town by providing some funds raised by school children in Victoria. Almost a century later, the people of Villers-Bretonneux returned help to Victorians after the bushfires that ravaged country towns. The article, ‘Bound by history, French children honour their debt’ in the Australian, provides information of the children from Villers-Bretonneux raising money to help rebuild the Strathewen primary school. Click on the link to learn more.
During a Dawn Service held at Villers-Bretonneux for thousands and thousands of soldiers, including many thousand Australians, who died on this battlefield in France in World War One. School children from the Wesley College Melbourne sing both the French and Australian national anthems in this extract from the live broadcast by ABC Australia 25 April 2011:
Australian troops played a critical role on the Western Front during World War I.
Thousands of Australians died while helping to drive the Germans from Villers-Bretonneux and break the Hindenberg line in 1918. Mr Kevin Rudd gave a commemorative address during a dawn service at Villers-Bretonneux remembering the price they paid. "We come to honour the values for which they fought. For freedom, for a fair go for all - values which we hold to be true for all humankind, not just for some," he said. "We come too to honour their feats of arms because their courage and skill helped change the course of the war, helped bring that war to an end." Speaking in French and English, Mr Rudd told those gathered, that Australia would never forget their ally. "And to the people of France who are with us today... We say thank you for looking after our fallen sons," he said. "We know our sacrifice was small compared to the loss of 1.3 million sons of France."
The Poppy (Le Coquelicot ) is a symbol of remembrance and appeared on the Western front during the 1st World War