Anzac Day 2015

The 25min walk in from where they blocked the road from the Villers-Bretonneux side, with tired eyes and at 2.45AM with the drizzle already seeping into your bones and trying to see where each foot landed in the flood-lit darkness added to one of the best experiences of my life. Being in The Somme to commemorate the 100 years of Anzac history.

For me it started the day before when I arrived from the 2 hour drive north-west from Paris to the beautiful countryside of The Somme. Stopping a couple of times off the highway just to take it all in. I parked my car which I would be sleeping in as close to the Gendarmes as I could without them bothering me. Grabbed a single beer and my flag and walked out to the memorial! I was expecting it to be crawling with other Aussies here for the same thing but to my absolute surprise, except for some security there was NO-ONE there! I walked around, reading the head stones and taking deep breaths and after a hour or so, sat down in front of the cross that stands ever-so proudly in the center of the memorial. I cracked my beer in my ‘made in Australia’ beer-cooler and sat on the grass with my flag and thoughts! That beer tasted better than usual. It was a surreal feeling. I’m hoping that they would be happy that I was having a beer remembering, that because of THEM I could do so! LIFETIME memory for me!

Seems I’m ranting on, but the Aussie’s that keep this site so well deserve a pat on the back! Superbly kept and not a blade of grass out of place. Seems a far cry to 100 years ago after reading about the horribleness of the Great war.

Anzac day was a long cold four hours sitting next to more than 6000 other people feeling the same. Wet shoes and socks with wind gusts bursting in from the north-east. Rain seemingly stopping then pounding down soaking what was not already soaked. No-one complained. Not a word. I even heard others saying they felt it added to the experience to feel what it was like back then. We all knew in a few hours we would be warm and dry, eating butter filled croissants and drinking hot coffee. For me, no photos were taken during the rains but I’ll never forget that morning.

Then the 25min, wet walk back to the town of Villers-Bretonneux for another wreath laying followed by the 45min drive to Bullecourt for Two more services and the rest of the afternoon spent at the Canberra Bar.  A big shout for the crazy Aussies I met along the way.

I hope these few pics can do what the day really was, justice! LEST WE FORGET!!!

The country side is simply amazing!

The country side is simply amazing!

Spring Crops.

Spring Crops.

Quite country roads.

Quite country roads.

The church that was ysed as a beacon during WW1

The church that was ysed as a beacon during WW1

The memorial.

The memorial.

A bit closer!

A bit closer!

Bright spring colours

Bright spring colours

Arriving at the VB memorial is always filled with emotion!

Arriving at the VB memorial is always filled with emotion!

The crew that prepared it did a amazing job.

The crew that prepared it did a amazing job.

All alone!

All alone!

Hats off!

Hats off!

Hats off again.

Hats off again.

Another angle.

Another angle.

The cross and sword!

The cross and sword!

Back to the center of VB

Back to the center of VB

Sunny now, not so in the morning.

Sunny now, not so in the morning.

Shadows

Shadows

My spot!

My spot!

Flags everywhere!

Flags everywhere!

Early... 3AM early

Early… 3AM early

There was already loads of people arriving.

There was already loads of people arriving.

You can see the rain in this one!

You can see the rain in this one!

But it didn't stop a soul!

But it didn’t stop a soul!

Part of the wall!

Part of the wall!

Proud Aussie!

Proud Aussie!

Arriving!!

Arriving!!

My last 2 pics were long exposures! Then the heavy rain arrived!

My last 2 pics were long exposures! Then the heavy rain arrived!

Looking back!

Looking back!

Then there was a 8.30AM memorial in the town center!

Then there was a 8.30AM memorial in the town center!

Remembering

Remembering

 A big team!

A big team!

Good salute!

Good salute!

Standing guard!

Standing guard!

Another of the amazing statues here in France! This one overlooking the memorial in the center.

Another of the amazing statues here in France! This one overlooking the memorial in the center.

Ceremony over and now a few hour to move to Bullecourt.

Ceremony over and now a few hour to move to Bullecourt.

I'd love to have spoken to so many people that I didn't get too! Including this bloke.

I’d love to have spoken to so many people that I didn’t get too! Including this bloke.

Flowers and the town hall.

Flowers and the town hall.

Nice flower. Tulip?

Nice flower. Tulip?

One of the memorials at Bullecourt.

One of the memorials at Bullecourt.

French flower bearers!

French flower bearers!

My view!

My view!

The church and the statue.

The church and the statue.

Aussie flower guys! A bit different to the Frenchies.

Aussie flower guys! A bit different to the Frenchies.

French serious guy!

French serious guy!

Speeches from over there.

Speeches from over there.

Nice Flowers.

Nice Flowers.

Our team.

Our team.

This bloke did a great job! Spoke well and looked the part.

This bloke did a great job! Spoke well and looked the part.

Good flags!

Good flags!

Ready for the next dignitary!

Ready for the next dignitary!

Strong salute!

Strong salute!

A very serious Navy guy!

A very serious Navy guy!

 The Germans had a guy there to lay a wreath as well!

The Germans had a guy there to lay a wreath as well!

An English Lord and his wife also.

An English Lord and his wife also.

Spoke well about the great history of our boys! Albeit a little sad.

Spoke well about the great history of our boys! Albeit a little sad.

Claud! Not sure why but they all loved him.

Claud! Not sure why but they all loved him.

The French showed amazing respect also.

The French showed amazing respect also.

Waiting their turns.

Waiting their turns.

Old mate.

Old mate.

A moments silence.

A moments silence.

On the way to the graveyard.

On the way to the graveyard.

Beautiful, peaceful.

Beautiful, peaceful.

The ceremony starts.

The ceremony starts.

Looking good team.

Looking good team.

The staute.

The staute.

The statue and the flag.

The statue and the flag.

A good mark.

A good mark.

IMG_0862

French/Aussie relations looked strong.

French/Aussie relations looked strong.

Great job!

Great job!

More respect.

More respect.

Nice bloke!

Nice bloke!

Now, back for a remembrance beer at the Canberra.

Now, back for a remembrance beer at the Canberra.

Everyone gone!

Everyone gone!

Not the Wreaths.

Not the Wreaths.

Another old church.

Another old church.

Fields upon fields.

Fields upon fields.

Spring, springing!

Spring, springing!

A scary-crow!

A scary-crow!

Ready to go!

Ready to go!

The PM visited but i couldn't get close!

The PM visited but i couldn’t get close!

Beautiful

Beautiful

They will never forget!

They will never forget!

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