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 ANZAC troops at a cost of over twelve hundred Australian lives. The people of Villers-Bretonneux remain indebted to Australia for this feat. The town's mayor spoke of the Australian troops on 14 July 1919 when unveiling a memorial in their honour:
The Australian War Memorial in France is located in Villers-Bretonneux and in front of it lie the graves of over 770 Australian soldiers, as well as those of other Commonwealth soldiers involved in the campaign. The school in Villers-Bretonneux was rebuilt using donations from school children of Victoria, Australia (many of whom had relatives perish in the town's liberation), and above every blackboard is the inscription "N'oublions jamais l'Australie" (Let us never forget Australia). The annual ANZAC Day ceremony is held at this village on the Saturday nearest the 25th April. Traditionally, Australian commemorations have focussed on Gallipoli. However, the 2008 ANZAC Day commemoration focussed on the Western Front, and a special dawn service marking the 90th anniversary of the battle of 24/25 April 1918 was held on Anzac Day itself at Villers-Bretonneux.
|Census count starting from 1962 Population without double counting|
TRANSCRIPT: DOORSTOP INTERVIEW - AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL MEMORIAL, VILLERS-BRETONNEUX, FRANCE, 25 APRIL 2010 - AUSTRALIAN MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS.
Apr 25, 2010; CANBERRA, Australia -- The following information was released by the office of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia:...
The other battle of the Somme ; The anniversary of one of Britain's most calamitous military defeats is to pass unmarked - except in Australia. John Lichfield reports from a little bit of France that is forever Down Under
Mar 24, 2008; There were no commemorations to mark the event: no speeches, or flags, or marching bands. The battles and the four months of...