Australian WW1 Memorial

On picking up the car I drove from Paris (a minor nightmare getting out, not because they drive on the right, but because the traffic around Charles deGaulle Airport is horrific) to Villers-Bretoneux and the Australian WW1 Memorial … and, of course, the snazzy new Sir John Monash Centre with its multimedia museum displays.

That’s the main memorial – the Australian bit. There are rows of graves marked by small headstones on either side, off frame. Around 2100 soldiers who died in the battles around here are buried there … and about 600 of them are ‘known only to God’, some of whom not even their nationality is known (the graves encompass Canadians and Brits as well)

Really quite sad, not only the ages (young) for most, but the fact that so many are unidentified – though, as they point out in one of the explanatory plaques on one side, the work goes on and the Australians usually manage to ID one or two more every now and then, usually with familial DNA testing … usually those whose unit is known, as this enables them to track down potential relatives. For some, however, they will probably never be identified.

The central cross, taken with the tower at my back, with the graves on either side.

The SJM Centre is partially buried and behind the tower, out of sight … there’s really not a lot inside to photograph, most of the included artifacts are quite small (the biggest are some of the machineguns) – and the real emphasis of the museum is on the multimedia displays and video clips, of which there are many. Very well done. Should have been in Australia, though.

That’s all I’ve got uploaded onto my PC. One night soon I will upload those which are still on the SD Card in my Camera and then do some more posts. But this is as far as I’ve managed to upload so far.

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