First stop over in France was at Amiens, North-Western France. Here we visited the Australian War Graves and specifically the town of Villers-Brotonneux.
In the First World War, on 24 April 1918, the small town of Villers-Bretonneux was the site of the world’s first battle between two tank forces: three British Mark IVs against three German A7Vs. The Germans took the town, but that night and the next day it was recaptured by 4th and 5th Division of the AIF at a cost of over twelve hundred Australian lives. The town’s mayor spoke of the Australian troops on 14 July 1919 when unveiling a memorial in their honour:
The first inhabitants of Villers-Bretonneux to re-establish themselves in the ruins of what was once a flourishing little town have, by means of donations, shown a desire to thank the valorous Australian Armies, who with the spontaneous enthusiasm and characteristic dash of their race, in a few hours drove out an enemy ten times their number…They offer a memorial tablet, a gift which is but the least expression of their gratitude, compared with the brilliant feat which was accomplished by the sons of Australia…Soldiers of Australia, whose brothers lie here in French soil, be assured that your memory will always be kept alive, and that the burial places of your dead will always be respected and cared for…
Australian War Memorial – Villers-Brotonneux
War Cemetery where Kerrie’s Grandfather (aka Alan Shaw) is Buried