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Thursday, 14 January 2016
Pozieres Anniversary - 2016
Grant, husband of one of our quilters has written the following piece for anyone who is interested in the upcoming anniversary of the battle at Pozieres.
Just after midnight on the 23rd of July 1916, the 1st and 3rd Brigades of the 1st Australian Division launched an attack on the village of Pozieres in France.
They seized the front German positions after bombardment from the field artillery. Thirty minutes later they attacked again after bombardment from the field artillery. This second stage brought the troops to hedges just outside Pozieres. They continued their third phase of the attack to the road through the village as the Germans fell back.
The Australians had taken all the objectives they were set except for the old German lines.
In the next 6 weeks, the Australians launched nineteen attacks on German positions around the Pozieres ridge, and on that crowded mile of ridge line, the three Australian divisions engaged, lost 23,000 officers and men killed or wounded in action, which represented over 12% of all Australian casualties on the Western Front.
The soldiers that fought and died at Pozieres were, for the most part, survivors of the Gallipoli Campaign.
As Charles Bean wrote, "The Windmill site . . . marks a ridge more densely sown with Australian sacrifice than any other place on earth.”
It is worth noting that soil from the Windmill site was cast on the coffin of the Unknown Australian Soldier in his tomb in the centre of the Hall of Memory at the Australian War Memorial.
As the centenary of this battle approaches later this year, efforts are now being made to ensure these commemorations are appropriately scaled to mark this significant occasion.
As the President of the Pozières Remembrance Association, Barry Gracey, a former Army WO2, says on his website "as a Project for the Centenary of the ANZAC, and as a tribute to the Soldiers who fought and died there, we, along with the Village of Pozieres, are planning to build a Memorial Park.”
To raise the money to build the Park, the Pozières Remembrance Association is selling bricks that will be endorsed with the buyers name and used in the construction of the park.
Details about this project can be found here and is also includes information about how you can donate to this very worthy cause.
You can find some further background on the Windmill site and Pozieres in general here
Till next time.................keep speading the word and happy stitching.