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The Rock-itt : August 2010
OUR DIGGERS IN WORLD WAR ONE OUR DIGGERS IN WORLD WAR ONE OUR DIGGERS IN WORLD WAR ONE OUR DIGGERS IN WORLD WAR ONE The Battle of Fromelles, Northern France, 19 -- 20 July 1916 Many of you will have seen on the news bulletins the service that our Governor General, Quentin Bryce, attended at the little town in Northern France known as Fromelles. The Battle for the ridge where the town rests has long remained an unknown struggle until the efforts of Melbourne schoolteacher Lambis Englezos to trace the final resting places of the missing Diggers, revealed a series of mass graves previously unknown by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) near a field called Pheasant Wood, just north of the town. The Battle of Fromelles was the first engagement fought by the Australians on the Western Front. British General Haking sent the newly arrived Australian forces against a very strongly held German position known as the "Sugarloaf" over flat open ground, and commencing at 530pm in broad daylight, the Aussie forces suffered over 5500 casualties of whom some 1917 were killed. Opposite them that day was Adolf Hitler. The purpose of the attack was in General Haking's mind at least, to divert German troops from the main attacks on the Somme. It was a complete failure -- no German Division was lured away from the Somme. G-G Quentin Bryce with Prince Charles at Fromelles at the re- interment of the last Australian unknown soldier at the new Pheasant Wood CWGC Cemetery in Northern France in brilliant sunshine on 19th July 2010, 84 years after the start of the Battle. This marble plaque commemorates his presence in the 16th Bavarian Reserve Regiment that faced the Empire troops. This unique memorial can be found in the attic museum of the Fromelles Town Hall (Mairie). I recommend a visit to this important town in our nation's history. Some of the relics in this superb display are better than any I have ever seen. Now finally Australian families can visit their long lost relatives in a final resting place that befits the sacrifice that these young men made; with over 250 AIF troops identified this is a significant memorial to our fallen Diggers and a must visit. The people of this town are very appreciative of the Australian Forces efforts and are very welcoming. The newest CGWC cemetery at Fromelles