Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan today launched a free educational app about the First World War Battles of Fromelles and Pozières to mark their 100th anniversaries this year.
The Battle of Fromelles (19 July 1916) was the first major engagement by Australian soldiers on the Western Front where the Australian 5th Division suffered 5533 casualties in just 24 hours — the bloodiest day in Australia’s wartime history.
The Battle of Pozières (23 July to 5 September 1916) involved another three Australian Divisions capturing and holding the village of Pozières fighting their way towards nearby Mouquet Farm.
When the Australians were withdrawn on 5 September, they had suffered some 24,000 casualties.
The Australian Government commissioned the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) to develop the app which allows users to explore both Battles via a 3D map that contains contemporary diary entries narrated by actor Hugo Weaving.
Mr Tehan launched the app at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne, which has received a $22.5 million commitment from the Anzac Centenary Public Fund to upgrade its facilities.
“It is our duty to educate future generations about the service and sacrifice of the men and women who have served in defence of our nation,” Mr Tehan said.
“This app will educate users about the experiences of the Australians who fought at Fromelles and Pozières and the important contribution they made to the Allied victory in the First World War.
“I encourage people to download this free app and learn more about this important period of Australian history.”
ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie said the ABC was proud to have developed ‘Days of Conflict: The Battles of Pozières and Fromelles’ app.
“The ABC extends its thanks to the Minister, the Department and the Government for making it possible to tell these 100 year old stories in a new way and hope that, in their new digital formats, they will be used to inform and educate generations of Australians for many years to come,” Ms Guthrie said.
The app is the second in a proposed series of six that will be produced during the Anzac Centenary period, 2014 to 2018. The first app, Gallipoli: the first day, was released in 2015 and four more apps are proposed to mark the centenary of significant battles and campaigns and to explore important aspects of the war – Passchendaele and Beersheba in 2017, and The Women’s Front and Armistice and the Homefront in 2018.
WWI: Fromelles and Pozières can be downloaded for free across Apple and Google app stores.
Non-tablet users can access the Days in Conflict: Fromelles and Pozières website http://www.abc.net.au/fromelles-pozieres/
In other news…
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan said Belgium authorities were funding a travelling exhibition of WWI artefacts as a sign of their deep appreciation of the service and sacrifice of Australian soldiers.
The Belgians Have Not Forgotten exhibition features wartime artefacts, photographs, maps and film footage from the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 in Zonnebeke, Belgium and is supported by the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917, the Zonnebeke Council, the Flemish Government and the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium in Australia.
The Australian Government has provided a grant to transport the exhibition to regional areas, including Launceston, Warrnambool, Dubbo and Hervey Bay.
Mr Tehan said “Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917” was part of the Australian Remembrance Trail on the Western Front and the Australian Government had helped fund the museum’s recent extension.
“The title of the exhibition reflects the deep appreciation and gratitude of Belgium for the sacrifice Australians made during the First World War,” Mr Tehan said.
“The Flanders Offensive cost Australia some 38,000 casualties. Those who fought and died in these battles are remembered nightly by the sounding of the Last Post under the arches of the Menin Gate at Ypres.
“In September 2017, Australia, with the assistance of Belgian authorities, will honour the service and sacrifice of those who fought in the Third Battle of Ypres with a Dawn Service on the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Polygon Wood. This service will commemorate the centenary of the 1917 battles in this region, and will be held at Buttes New British Cemetery at Polygon Wood.
“The ceremony will again highlight the close relationship between the people of Belgium and Australia. The oversight of the Belgian Federal Government at a time when many countries are commemorating the Third Battle of Ypres is very much appreciated.
“The Belgian touring exhibition and the 2017 planned anniversary at Polygon Wood, demonstrate that both nations will never forget the soldiers who fought so far from home.”
The Belgians Have Not Forgotten exhibition will visit:
– Warrnambool, Lighthouse Theatre, 12 December to 23 December 2016
– Dubbo, Western Plains Cultural Centre, 16 January to 7 February 2017
– Hervey Bay, Hervey Bay RSL Sub Branch, 17 February to 17 March 2017
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