"Villers-Bretonneux - ANZAC DAWN SERVICE" Villers-Bretonneux by pedroswift

Villers-Bretonneux Travel Guide: 12 reviews and 29 photos

Australians still remembered in France

Wishing to plan a road trip to attend the Anzac Day Dawn Service at Villers-Bretonneux ? or to visit at any time ??
Read the following then scroll down to the "Travelogue" below.

by the way: This page & the Travelogue are best viewed as part of my Personal Page on V-B so that the links (in light blue type) work with a mouse click.
The blue location bar at top of page should look like :"Europe>France > Picardie >Villers-Bretonneux > pedroswift's Villers-Bretonneux Travel Page " -
if you don't have it looking like that, (or cannot see some light blue text in the paragraphs below) cut and paste this URL: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/ae2c2/14357/
which re-opens pedroswift's intro page then after reading it, scroll down the page to open the "Anzac Dawn Service - Planning" Travelogue.

The ANZAC Tradition was forged during World War One 1914-18. Any Australian seeking enlightenment on that tradition by visiting the WW1 European battle sites is advised to start the journey at Villers-Bretonneux which is twinned with the town of Robinvale on the Murray river. Robinvale was created after WWI and named after Robin Cuttle, the son of a local 'pioneer', who was killed at Villers-Bretonneux.
The building of the Victoria School, in central Villers-B. was funded by donations from school children in the State of Victoria. It is a Memorial to Victorian soldiers who lost their lives during WW1 and is the perfect starting point of a self-guided tour of Australian Battle sites.
The school houses the Musee Franco-Australien.

Amiens

The closest large town to Villers-Bretonneux is Amiens. I suggest you use Amiens as a base for visits to the Somme. ANZAC Day itself probably not the time to visit. However, a couple of days prior, a visit to the Tourist Office in Amiens will provide a wealth of maps and brochures designed specifically for Battlefield visitors.
The best method of doing your own tour is via hire car as public transport is non-existent and taxi transport too expensive for all bar short trips. Train to Lille direct from CDG or Paris Nord Station to Amiens to pick up hire/leased car is an option if car pick-up at CDG Airport is considered too daunting.
Amiens Tourist Office URL: http://www.amiens-tourisme.com/

Anzac Day Service
If you are attending the Dawn Service on ANZAC Day 2014, you should be prepared well in advance by consulting the Australian Governments Department of Veteran's Affairs web site.
URL: http://www.dva.gov.au/commems_oawg/commemorations/commemorative_events/anzac_day/Pages/france.aspx
In Jan 2014, this site has preliminary info on traffic arrangements for 2014 in a section "What to expect and how to prepare for ANZAC Day". They promise 'final traffic arrangements soon'.
There is also a section with a link to "Register" your attendence thereby providing you with an "Update Service" to your computer or mobile phone.
It is critical that you appreciate the limitations on vehicle movements on Anzac Day and download the PDF of the final arrangements for parking and pedestrian access to the Australian Memorial which is put on the DVA web site a couple of months prior to ANZAC Day. See advice on clothes to wear as well.

North Mackay High School History Project
During your preparation to visit France/Belgium, check out the North Mackay High School's History Project.
URL: http://resources.macknortshs.eq.edu.au/ANZAC/
If you are an Aussie it will make you proud to be so! Scroll down the page to "Nicole's Story" ( in Tour Number 4) and "Megan's Journey" (in Tour number 5).... . Be prepared to shed a tear when you read them.

You should also be aware of the fact that students of North Mackay High not only support the ANZAC Day service in Mackay each year but also send a big percentage of their students in the school's marching band to support veterans taking part in the Anzac Day Parade in Brisbane - making a self-funded trip of 1600 kilometres to do so. That is Dedication (with a capital"D").

Read about another Australian - Villers-Bretonneux re-connection
URL: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/in-depth/anzac-day/the-return-to-villers-bretonneux/story-e6frgdao-1111116103777
If you are looking for a specific relative buried on the Western Front do a search.
URL: http://www.dva.gov.au/commems_oawg/OAWG/remembering_war_dead/Pages/search%20CWGC.aspx

Check out the "Off the Beaten Path" review (tip) below to find another Villers-Bretonneux - Australia (Queensland) link. The last surviving German A7V Tank captured by Australians in 1918 - on display in Queensland.

Before You Leave Home

There are generic Australian memorials to seek out on your pilgrimage as well as Australian Divisional Memorials.
Don't neglect to visit Adelaide Cemetery while in Villers. Read about it in tips below.URL : http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/ae2c2/14357/4/#1538993
Do some homework on the web before you go, to work out what you wish to see. Don't neglect other Commonwealth Memorials eg Canadian (Vimy Ridge).
As well as the numerous sites on the www, from which a wealth of information can be downloaded, ask at your public library for "A guide to the Australian Battlefields of the Western Front" by Dr John Laffin (Kangaroo Press) or the more modern Mat Mc Lachlan book listed below.
Although it's not essential, If you are serious about seeing the Western Front in depth, purchase the latest Commonwealth War Graves Commission's Michelin Road Atlas: "Cemeteries and Memorials in Belgium and Northern France". This is a compact road atlas covering the areas with the densest population of war cemeteries in northern France and Belgium, including Normandy. The atlas, with road maps in Michelin's 1:200,000 series is overprinted to show the location of each Commonwealth cemetery and memorial & comes with an alphabetical index.

You may wish to consult or, even better, purchase and take with you on your battlefield pilgrimage "Walking with the Anzacs - A Guide to Australian Battlefields on the Western Front" by Mat Mc Lachlan (hachette australia, 2007 - revised in 2008 & 2009 - ISBN 978 0 7334 0907 2). Also downloadable to your Kindle.
McLachlan is a professional Battlefield Guide and has made his experience available to the do-it-yourself battlefield tourist. He explains the main battles and gives detailed instructions for Australians to visit the key locations. Also provides up-to-date tips on accommodation.

for more info: Scroll down to Travelogue below - "Anzac Dawn Service Planning".

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:ANZAC Spirit - the French connection
  • Cons:nothing to report except 2013 change to traffic rules
  • In a nutshell:Start of a heart-wrenching battlesite tour
  • Last visit to Villers-Bretonneux: Apr 2010
  • Intro Updated Jan 10, 2014
  • Add to Trip Planner (?)
  • Report Abuse

Reviews (11)

Comments (6)

  • gwened's Profile Photo
    May 1, 2013 at 3:10 AM

    nice page indeed of a nice place.

  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo
    Feb 7, 2012 at 12:05 AM

    Oh my, what a page, Peter!
    I am always touched by the way that the ANZAC spirit is kept alive and it is one of my most poignant memories of my time living in Oz. Somehow the balance has been maintained between the solemn and the celebratory and 'lest we forget' is a positive, dignified recognition of the sacrifice made.
    Having read this, I look forward to discovering your other pages ...
    Regards
    Cathy

  • betska's Profile Photo
    Apr 24, 2010 at 9:47 PM

    Hope you made it for the service. Lovely page-hope to get here next year, Pete. Your pages and links are very helpful.

  • craic's Profile Photo
    May 10, 2007 at 12:06 AM

    what a sad and yet useful page - quite sombre

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Feb 20, 2007 at 1:19 PM

    I also found this a very moving page, and I'm not even an Aussie.

  • tiabunna's Profile Photo
    Sep 24, 2006 at 6:35 AM

    An excellent page on Australia's main WWI memorial in France, Peter. All Aussies should spend a few days in the Somme area and reflect.

pedroswift

“"ski forever!" ski= spend the kid's inheritance”

Online Now

Male

Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 9 0 9
Forum Rank:
0 0 1 2 8

Badges & Stats in Villers-Bretonneux

  • 11 Reviews
  • 28 Photos
  • 5 Forum posts
  • 6 Comments
  • 7,153PageViews

Have you been to Villers-Bretonneux?

  Share Your Travels  

Travel Interests

See All Travel Interests (5)