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Published: September 19th 2015
Fromells Australian War Cemetry
Cemetery containing only Australians.
No Headstones because none of the 410 bodies could be identified.
On the rear wall are names of a further 1,294 Australians who died here but have no known grave.
WW1 began in 1914 and until 1918, France and Belgium were part occupied by German forces.
German armies made strategic progress initially and were halted along a war front that extended from Belgium to Switzerland.
British troops were initially sent to assist the French army. Before long Commonwealth (Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, Newfoundland, Indian and South African Commonwealth ) armies came to assist.
After the arrival of the Commonwealth and other forces the war front became relatively static for about 3 and a half years. Numerous battles initiated by one side or the other to gain an advantage had little effect other than to move the local battle front a short distance, always at enormous cost of human life and suffering.
In July 1918 there was a turning point . I shall write about that soon.
But all the battles ended up costing about 750,000 lives of British and Commonwealth personnel. Of those almost 300,000 have no known grave.
In our trip around a small number of the war cemeteries and memorials we observe that there are about xxx cemeteries and yyy memorials. We have
visited only a handful in about a week. If those missing 300,000 all had headstones then the visual spectacle of cemeteries would really ram home what a shambles that war was.
So what was Fromelles?
In July 1916 a significant attack by British and Commonwealth forces was being launched further south in the Somme area. At Fromelles a separate attack was instigated to distract German attention from the Somme and disrupt German supply lines to the Somme.
The whole Fromelles attack was a shambles.
No planning, poor preparation of troops, poorly conceived strategy, lack of communication lines, little understanding of enemy strength, inadequate arms, lack of artillery, all contributed to the failure.
Pictures here are of cemeteries containing Australians who died in the battle of Fromelles - in a 24 hour period -19th and 20th July 1917
Over 5, 300 Australian casualties resulted. In one Australian Brigade nearly 900 went into battle and the following morning just over 100 were able to attend roll call. This was the first significant Australian contact with the enemy on this front. It went down as the only Australian attack in which none of
the objectives were met.
From here on our military success improved – but at continuing cost – until a turning point in July 1918, which I shall write about soon.
There are many points of interest in the area .
Of particular interest is the Cobbers Memorial – in VC Corner – on a small plot in a Flanders Field.
The inscription reads per the picture here.
Tot: 0.031s; Tpl: 0.016s; cc: 15; qc: 28; dbt: 0.006s; 1; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.2mb