Australian National Memorial – Villers‑Bretonneux, France
Overview: at this location on the Australian Remembrance Trail
On 22 July 1938, Queen Elizabeth laid a bunch of poppies, given to her by a local schoolboy, at the unveiling of the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux. Was she thinking of her own brother, Fergus Bowes-Lyon, ‘missing’ at the Battle of Loos in 1915? Around the walls of the Memorial were the names of some 11,000 Australians ‘missing’ in action in France. On the night of 24–25 April 1918, Australian soldiers recaptured Villers-Bretonneux from the Germans, a battle also remembered in the Franco-Australian museum at the Victoria school in the town. In the playground is a sign: ‘Do Not Forget Australia’.
The Franco-Australian Museum
The Franco-Australian Museum located in Villers-Bretonneux tells the story of Australia’s involvement in the area and the ongoing relationship with the town through a large collection of objects, letters and memorabilia. The Australian Government is contributing approximately A$2.1 million to a major refurbishment. The Museum closed in November 2014 and will reopen in April 2016. A temporary exhibition opened to the public in January 2015 for the duration of the closure. It is housed in the Victoria Hall at the Victoria School in Villers-Bretonneux.
Visiting information can be found at the Franco-Australian Museum website.
Features in this section:
- On this spot, your personal guide: Australian National Memorial, Villers‑Bretonneux
- What happened here?
- Visiting Villers-Bretonneux