Gove, Northern Territory, Australia

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Finding Fromelles

The true meaning of ANZAC Day goes beyond the anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli in 1915. It is a day for us to remember those who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. 

Poppies at the Somme
So it was for us, when (for the anniversary of the Battle of the Somme) we travelled the Circuit of Remembrance (the route of the Somme battlefields in France) including visits to Villers-Bretonneux and (recognising my Welsh heritage) the Welsh Dragon Memorial at Mametz Wood.

View from the memorial tower at Villers-Bretonneux
At many of the memorials, we were the only visitors.

Cemetery at Villers-Bretonneux
The peace and tranquility of the cemeteries was quite spiritual.

Welsh Dragon Memorial at Memetz Wood

During our travels, the media had reported the ‘discovery’ of a mass burial site of several hundred British and Australian World War I soldiers, in a field near Fromelles.   
Australian-French co-operation took another step forward on the day of our visit to Fromelles.  We speak limited French, but were able to haltingly ask for directions to the field, from a very generous-spirited French grandmother (who spoke no English).  She patiently comprehended our efforts at sign language interspersed with broken French-English, and in return gave us detailed directions to the field (in super-fast French), which somehow we were able to comprehend.  Thus, we found Fromelles.

Finding the Fromelles site

The Fromelles site

Original Fromelles plaque

Finding Fromelles, and visiting the memorials throughout the Somme, were poignant reminders of the great sacrifices made by those who serve and die in War. 
Laying a posy of wildflowers at the Welsh Dragon Memorial



  1. That must have been a very moving trip for you. This is a great post.

  2. The whole trip was very reflective as we also travelled to Omaha Beach, and prior to being in Normandy we visited Poland - all particularly moving experiences free of tourist crowds.