A pilgrimage to the battlefields of France by Australian veterans of the First World War reached its climax today (Thursday).
A pilgrimage to the battlefields of France by Australian veterans of the First World War reached its climax today (Thursday). The 30 veterans watch the unveiling of a new Australian war memorial at Mont-Saint-Quentin, Peron It was the 53rd anniversary of a battle in which Australian troops dislodge the Germans from vital hill positions near Mont-Saint-Quentin.
The memorial, to Australians who died in the battle, replaced one originally inaugurated by Marshal Foch in 1925, but subsequently destroyed by the Germans in 1940.
The bronze statue of an Australian infantryman in marching kit was designed by Melbourne sculptor, Stanley Hammond. Representatives of the French government and Australian Embassy in Paris were present at the unveiling, jointly performed by the leader of the Australian pilgrimage, Dr. D.D. Coutes, and a former Mayor of Peronne Dr. Daniel Boinet.
Following this ceremony, the central avenue through Mont-Saint-Quentin was opened as L'Avenue des Australians.
The party of Australian veterans, most of the over 70 years old, is revisiting some of the most famous First World War battlefields in France & Belgium, including Reims, Verdun, Arras, Lille and Ypres. They are also taking part in a wreath laying ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe, Paris.