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Remembrance Day marked across Australia

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Postby rath » Sun Nov 11, 2012 2:56 am

Remembrance Day ceremonies have been held across the Australia as people paused to remember those who have died in past and present conflicts.

The ceremonies mark the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the moment when guns fell silent in 1918, ending the hostilities of World War I.

The sombre ceremonies were commemorated with a minute's silence at 11:00am (local time).

In Canberra, thousands of people gathered at the Australian War Memorial for the national ceremony where Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Governor-General Quentin Bryce joined others in laying wreaths.

Remembrance Day (also known as Poppy Day or Armistice Day) is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth countries since the end of World War I to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty. This day, or alternative dates, are also recognized as special days for war remembrances in many non-Commonwealth countries. Remembrance Day is observed on 11 November to recall the end of hostilities of World War I on that date in 1918. Hostilities formally ended "at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month," in accordance with the Armistice, signed by representatives of Germany and the Entente between 5:12 and 5:20 that morning. ("At the 11th hour" refers to the passing of the 11th hour, or 11:00 a.m.) World War I officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919.

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First World War, 1914-18


1 October 1918 - Australian Light Horsemen take Damascus
The Light Horse advances into Damascus, the Syrian capital, at the end of the long and victorious advance that ended the First World War in the Middle East



30 October 1918 - Armistice with Turkey
Armistice signed with Turkey, ending Turkish involvement in the First World War. Australian troops had taken the most prominent part in the war against the Ottoman empire, especially on Gallipoli and in Sinai-Palestine.

31 October 1917 - Beersheba, Palestine
At Beersheba the 4th Light Horse Brigade's bold charge against Turkish positions at Beersheba, seized a critical wells that enabled British empire forces to break the Ottoman line near Gaza and advance into Palestine.


See -Australian & German Battle At
Villers–Bretonneux.
Pozières.
Fromelles.

Australians on the Western Front 1914–1918

An Australian journey across the First World War battlefields of France and Belgium
World War I, 1914–1918

World War I, 1914-1918, was the 'Great War', the 'war to end all wars'. In that conflict, the most important battleground was the 'Western Front' in France and Belgium where great battles were fought with names that were once household words in Australia - Fromelles, the Somme, Bullecourt, Messines, Passcshendaele, Dernancourt and Villers-Bretonneux. Of the more than 290,000 Australians who served in this theatre of war in the AIF, the Australian Imperial Force, 46,000 were either killed in action or died of their wounds. Dotted across the landscape of France and Belgium are hundreds of war cemeteries and memorials where these soldiers lie buried or where their names are listed among those thousands who have 'no known grave, the 'missing'. This website is dedicated to their memory and to those who served with them and returned to Australia, many of them wounded in body and spirit.


The Hindenburg Line- the last and strongest of the German army's defence - consisted of three well-defended trench systems, established in 1917. Throughout September 1918, Australian forces had helped the British army to secure positions from which an attack on the Hindenburg Line could be launched. Planning began for a major attack at the end of the month. It was hoped that this attack would finally break the power of the German army.


The Hindenburg Line: Breaking the Hindenburg Line

On 18 September 1918, Australia's preliminary attack was launched when Lieutenant General Sir John Monash's troops reached the first part of the Hindenburg Line. At 5.20 am, Monash's troops, supported by huge artillery barrages, attacked the heavily fortified German defences and machine-gun posts. Using only eight tanks (as well as dummy tanks to distract the Germans), they broke through German positions and took 4,300 prisoners. Although there were 1,000 dead or wounded, this cost was fairly slim compared to the losses of the German forces.

The Second Attack

On 29 September, the line was finally broken. Australian troops spearheaded this battle, given the task of breaking defences in the centre. They attacked a strongly defended sector at Bellicourt with tanks, artillery, and aircraft working in concert. Advances were made, but it was a struggle between the two forces. The fighting lasted four days and resulted in heavy losses.

Gunner J.R. Armitage wrote:

As we went over the ridge we found ourselves in the midst of the most wonderful and impressive battle field scene imaginable. It was a scene never to be forgotten with infantry, tanks, guns, everything in action in a sort of inferno of smoke and shell bursts.

Eventually, the Allies broke through the third and final stage of the Hindenburg Line, and the Germans were forced to fall back. Private Albert Golding wrote after the battle that he and some fellow diggers slept that night in an abandoned German trench and ate a hearty breakfast from hastily abandoned German supplies!


In this attack, troops captured the entrance to the St Quentin canal tunnel. Inside was a kitchen where German bodies were found – one of them in a cooking cauldron. There were wild claims that the enemy was boiling down the dead, and this was exploited by the allies’ propaganda system. Anti-German sentiment was so strong that it was widely believed. An investigation soon proved that, during the fighting, a shell had exploded in an improvised kitchen, killing the unfortunate Germans and throwing one into a pot.

An attack on 5 October The Australian last brigade fought and took Montbrehain village, and with that, the Hindenburg Line was completely broken.

On the 11 November 1918 Germany signs an armistice ending the fighting on the Western Front. The First World War ended at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

By this time, most Australian troops had been fighting for six months without a break, 11 out of 60 battalions were disbanded because there were so few men left in them, and 27,000 men had been killed or wounded since the Battle of Amiens. The troops were worn and war weary.

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http://www.ww1westernfront.gov.au/battlefields.html




When the Australian Army came to France, the French people expected a great deal of you … We knew that you would fight a real fight, but we did not know that from the beginning you would astonish the whole continent … I shall go back tomorrow and say to my countrymen: ‘I have seen the Australians. I have looked into their faces. I know that these men … will fight alongside us again until the cause for which we are all fighting is safe for us and our children. - French Prime Minister, Georges Clemenceau, 1918


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http://www.awmlondon.gov.au/

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Postby rath » Sun Nov 11, 2012 3:00 am

Pozières
23 July – 5 August 1916
The Road to Pozières


In late July 1916, the Australian Forces fought its first action in the Battle of the Somme.

Between 23 July and 5 August 1916, the Australian First and Second Divisions captured Pozières village and Pozières heights, a ridge 500 metres east of the village. The initial attack began at 12.30 am on Sunday 23 July when the First Division seized the German front line and in the following hour reached the main road through Pozières. At dawn the Germans counter-attacked but the Australians held on.

The rest of Pozières fell on the night of 23–24 July and further gains were made on the night of 24–25 July. The Germans reacted to the seizure of Pozières by concentrating the bulk of their artillery on the Australians. Constant barrages were directed onto the village and the narrow approaches creating a nightmarish situation for troops forming up and attacking in the dark.

The severe German bombardment of Pozières, which continued for three days, was a new and unnerving experience for the Australians. In five days the First Division suffered 5285 casualties, killed and wounded. By 27 July, the 2nd Division had taken over in Pozières.

The overall commander of British operations in this sector, General Sir Hubert Gough, now ordered the Second Division to take the OG lines on Pozières heights. The attack commenced at 12.15 am on 29 July but the German machine-gunners were ready and their fire was terrific. The attack, except on the right flank, failed at a cost of 3500 casualties.

Battle of the Pozières

Despite this loss, Major General Legge, commanding the Second Division, asked that his men might attack again rather than be withdrawn after failure. The attack was to commence just before dark when the OG lines were clearly visible and, in order for the attacking troops to be undetected, deep approach and jumping-off trenches were dug. These were subjected to constant German bombardment causing many to break down under the intense strain. Following three minutes of intense bombardment on 4 August 1916, OG1 was rushed at 9.15 pm and OG2 15 minutes later. The Australians advanced to be almost among their own falling shells which meant the Germans had insufficient time to leave their dugouts and set up their machine guns. Pozières heights and the OG lines along the ridge were finally seized.

The Australians at last looked over the wide, shallow valley behind Pozières heights. They could see the movement of soldiers, guns and supplies in the German rear lines. The exhausted Second Australian Division was now rested having suffered 6848 casualties, the greatest number ever endured by an Australian division in one tour in the front line.
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Postby rath » Sun Nov 11, 2012 3:10 am

The road to the famous Armistice of 11 am on 11 November 1918 began once the leaders of the Imperial German Army felt that Germany could not win the war. In late October 1918, the politicians in Berlin were virtually instructed to sue for peace and the Emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II, left the capital for the town of Spa in Belgium to be with his armies. As the German military situation on the Western Front deteriorated rapidly, at home revolution was in the air after years of privation and loss. On 30 October, German sailors of the High Seas Fleet at Kiel mutinied, refusing to take their warships to sea in a last ditch effort against the Royal Navy, and it was learnt that the Allies were planning another major offensive to start on 14 November. In this crisis for Germany, on Thursday 7 November 1918, a delegation led by liberal Catholic politician Matthias Erzberger and Major General Detlev von Winterfeldt set out in a convoy of cars for the front line in France.
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Postby rath » Sun Nov 11, 2012 3:22 am

Lost Diggers on display

04 November, 2012

During the First World War, thousands of Aussie diggers and other Allied troops passed through the small French town of Vignacourt, two hours north of Paris.

Many of them had their photographs taken by Louis and Antoinette Thuillier as souvenirs while they enjoyed a brief respite from the carnage of the Western Front. For all too many of those soldiers, this was their last moment away from the front lines before being sent to their deaths in battle.

The sensational discovery of these photos was made by a Sunday Night team in France in early February 2011. After following up rumours of a secret collection of photographs, they found over 3,000 fragile photographic glass plate negatives in the attic of a dilapidated farmhouse in the small town of Vignacourt two hours' drive north of Paris, near Amiens.

Nearly 500 of the plates – donated by a relative of the photographers – were then brought back to Australia by Sunday Night and carefully processed so that the images could be seen for the first time since the War.

In the past week came the final chapter of the story, as Kerry Stokes AC opened the new exhibition Remember me: the lost diggers of Vignacourt at the Australian War Memorial.

“These are extraordinary Australians. Their lives and their bravery are part of the fabric of our country. This collection provides an extraordinary snapshot of a moment in time, in our country’s life, and in the lives of those who served our country in a distant land. The discovery of these plates by the team at Seven’s Sunday Night program has struck a chord with Australians, and we are pleased that the stories behind these historic images can be told and those who served are country honoured. They may have been lost but they will never be forgotten. Let’s now try as a national objective to put a name to as many of these brave men as possible - to reunite them with their families and resurrect their legacy”, Stokes said.

“This exhibition would not have been possible without Mr Stokes’s generous donation of this collection to the Memorial earlier this year,” said Australian War Memorial Acting Director Nola Anderson. “We are very grateful to him for his ongoing support in helping us to preserve our nation’s military heritage.”

The photographs have been specially hand-printed in the Memorial’s darkrooms from the original glass-plate negatives. Objects from the battlefields reveal what the Australians experienced and endured, while the personal letters and diaries that have been included let these soldiers speak to us in their own words.

Remember me: the lost diggers of Vignacourt will be on display until 31 July 2013.


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Postby chiselray » Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:35 am

yes remember them..

I was only 19 ...great song ....packs a punch and brings it home i guess as best a civilian would want to hope to imagine without dying inside as some diggers would have.
It was odd weather here today as a matter of fact ...started out cold and steely ,then by 11 am the sun broke through and there on the day came about .
Almost a poetic presence of the significance of this day ,a sense of dialog could have been felt if you would look for it .
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Postby rath » Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:27 am

chiselray wrote:yes remember them..

I was only 19 ...great song ....packs a punch and brings it home i guess as best a civilian would want to hope to imagine without dying inside as some diggers would have.


I was only 19, is a great Australian song, altho it's about Vietnam & not World war 1 or 2. It's right up there with Australia's best war songs.

Alon with the band played waltzing matilda & Cold Chisel -Khe Sanh.

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Postby chiselray » Mon Nov 12, 2012 2:46 am

Cold chisel...hense my username.. Australias Biggest Band , without a doubt ...
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