IMPORTANT NEWS UPDATE: 02 February 2017
Revised Security Arrangements France & Belgium: Pre-Registration is now MANDATORY!
We have just received new advice from the Australian DVA (Dept of Veteran Affairs) regarding revised French security arrangements for all future official DVA Australian Remembrance events for WW1 in France and Belgium.
These security arrangements are ONLY for official DVA events: Anzac Day Villers-Bretonneux 2017 (25 April), Bullecourt Centenary 2017 (25 April), Polygon Wood Centenary 2017 (26 September), Villers-Bretonneux Anzac Day Centenary 2018, (25 April) Le Hamel Centenary 2018 (4 July) and the 2018 Armistice Centenary ceremony (11/11) Further details:
Dawn Service Villers-Bretonneux 2017
Frequently Asked Questions
Powerpoint Briefing: 2017/2018 Villers-Bretonneux Anzac Day/Polygon Wood/Le Hamel (Maps)
Please NOTE that you MUST register DIRECTLY with DVA for SECURITY CLEARANCE if you are attending ANY of these events. Registration for 2017 Villers-Bretonneux and Bullecourt Anzac Day is now open for registration HERE:
CRUISE BONUS! We have also secured an allotment of cabins and staterooms aboard the *Amadeus Cruise Ship's (*previously Amras Cruises) brand new "Amadeus Silver III" on the 8 day Amsterdam-Amsterdam *Tulip Serenade Cruise (13-20 April 2017) (also 28 April - 05 May.) Please contact us for our *special 2017 prices for these cruises and how to reserve space on these historic river cruises! (**Either cruise dates above integrate well into this Bullecourt Centenary Tour.)
The Great War and the AIF
For Australia the First World War remains the most costly conflict in terms of deaths and casualties in its history. From a population of fewer than five million, 416,809 men enlisted, of which over 60,000 were killed and 156,000 wounded, gassed, or taken prisoner. As a proportion of its fighting force of men who were actually exposed to a theatre of war, the AIF suffered more deaths, more hospitalisations for wounding and illness and injury than the armies of Britain, Germany, France, Canada or the United States. Winning this war came at too high a cost for our young nation. Source
The two Battles of Bullecourt were a tragic example of our involvement in WW1.
First Battle of Bullecourt 11 April 1917
The first battle of Bullecourt was hastily planned and executed by the British High Command (General Sir Hubert Gough) and was to use tanks for the first time. Delayed from the 10th to the 11th April, and despite extensive protests from the Australian commanders the attack went ahead on the morning of 11th April. The tanks however were unreliable and many broke down and the *limited artillery barrage (*a limited artillery barrage was decided upon to allow the tanks to overun the German defences) left much of the barbed wire in front of the German trenches intact. Besides this the aborted attack on the 10th April had alerted the Germans so they were fully prepared for the attack on the 11th.
Also, most importantly, the German defenders quickly realised the tanks were next to useless and easily destroyed with armour piercing fire so the tanks were quickly destroyed. Although some of the Australian 4th Division got to some sections of German trenches, they had to quickly retreat with very heavy losses. Due to confusion over how far the Australians had advanced all supporting artillery fire was held back, with the Australians being surrounded and forced to retreat. The two brigades from the 4th Division that took part in the attack, the 4th and 12th, took over 3,200 casualties with 1,170 Australians taken prisoner - the largest number of Australian prisoners captured in a single action during the war.
Second Battle Bullecourt: 10-17 May 1917
Following the First battle of Bullecourt, a second battle took place starting on the 3rd May. Learning from the disaster of the first battle of Bullecourt, tanks were given a much reduced secondary role and artillery was given it's traditional prominent role to lay down a creeping barrage to cut the wire and shelter the advancing troops. In the leadup to the battle the general area around Bullecourt was totally destroyed by Allied shelling and the wire in front of the German defences was destroyed. A very bitter series of battles took place as the Germans were extremely well dug in but by May 17th the Allies had captured all their objectives.
In total, the two attacks on Bullecourt had resulted in over 10,000 casualties for the Australians with the Germans suffered a similar number of casualties.One of the most negative legacies of these battles was the Australians - both senior staff and the fighting troops - deep distrust of using tanks in a primary role in battle and also an openly displayed distrust of the British High Command's planning ability - especially Gough.
The Bullecourt Centenary: 25 April 2017:
Included in: 'Australians on the Western Front' 2017 Tours: Value Tour & Deluxe Upgrade Tour.
Starts: Friday 21 April 2017: Finishes Tuesday 25 April 2017.
For all enquiries or booking please contact us:
"N'oublions jamais l'Australie" (Let us never forget Australia)