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France 1918: Defence of Amiens
Amiens, Amiens Cathedral
Defending Amiens 1918 – The sacrifice of your blood
On 7 November 1920 in Notre Dame d’Amiens Cathedral, the Bishop of Amiens paid tribute to the soldiers of Australia for defending his city in its hour of peril:
As Bishop of Amiens I owe you and your illustrious dead my heartfelt thanks because the land of my diocese has been your field of battle, and you have delivered it by the sacrifice of your blood. During the painful days of the invasion you made a rampart of your breasts, behind which you shielded and saved the last shreds of my territory … the children who in coming centuries will grow up in your homes and schools, will learn through your good deeds the lessons of patriotism. They will not be able to pronounce your name without speaking of the towns, villages, tablelands, ridges and valleys of the Somme.
With those words the Bishop, in the presence of Andrew Fisher, Australia’s High Commissioner to London, Marshal Ferdinand Foch, Allied Supreme Commander in 1918, and a large local congregation unveiled a marble plaque affixed to a pillar in his cathedral. It was dedicated to the men of the AIF who had fought on the Somme between March and August 1918 and defended the city of Amiens from the Germans. As the inscription on the plaque asserts, the AIF had …
valiantly participated in the victorious defence of Amiens.
© 2013 Department of Veterans' Affairs and Board of Studies NSW :: Last update - December 2010