LEST WE FORGET
This month, 5000 Poppies along with Phillip Johnson Landscapes will be planting approximately 26,500 of our beautiful stemmed poppies in Fromelles at Australian Memorial Park (Cobbers) as part of the Centenary Commemoration of the Battle of the Somme.
An excerpt from the Australian War Memorial Website : The battle of Fromelles on 19 July 1916 was a bloody initiation for Australian soldiers to warfare on the Western Front. Soldiers of the newly arrived 5th Australian Division, together with the British 61st Division, were ordered to attack strongly fortified German front line positions near the Aubers Ridge in French Flanders. The attack was intended as a feint to hold German reserves from moving south to the Somme where a large Allied offensive had begun on 1 July. The feint was a disastrous failure. Australian and British soldiers assaulted over open ground in broad daylight and under direct observation and heavy fire from the German lines. Over 5,500 Australians became casualties. Almost 2,000 of them were killed in action or died of wounds and some 400 were captured. This is believed to be the greatest loss by a single division in 24 hours during the entire First World War. Some consider Fromelles the most tragic event in Australia’s history.
This incredibly poignant installation speaks to the heart of what we have created and why. And so, again I offer a huge thank you to all of you who have contributed to this wonderful project … every one of your poppies has its own story, and each is a timeless thread of connection to those who have served and sacrificed. It is an honour and a joy to share those stories with the world on your behalf.
This installation has been made possible through the incredible support of the Victorian RSL and with generous financial assistance from the Australian Government, an anonymous private benefactor and contributions from a funding drive by radio host Neil Mitchell on 3AW. We also want to acknowledge again the assistance of the Victorian Government and Qantas who were instrumental in getting us to Europe in the first place; and again we have a wonderful team from Australia who will help us to make this happen.
We will be installing on 17 and 18 July … the installation will be in situ until 25 July and we will be removing them on 26 July. We will have a presence at the site most days at least in part if you’d like to call by and say hello if you are in the area.