Travel Series: Anzac Dawn Service, Villers-Bretonneux

When we were in the early stages of planning our holiday and realised we would be away on Anzac day, we decided to work our itinerary to include our attendance at the dawn service at Villers-Bretonneux, in the heart of the Somme where much of the World War I action took place.  I’ve spoken about it before (here), but I’ve always felt compelled to attend the Anzac Dawn service on April 25th – as a very small and personal mark of respect for those men and woman who have lost their lives in battle.  Departing our shuttle bus in the dark, walking the road in silence with over 4,000 other pilgrams, to arrive at the Australian War Memorial in Villers-Bretonneux was a solemn and humbling experience and one not easily forgotten.

Afterwards, following a {much needed} mid-morning nap, we meandered our way through the surrounding countryside – stopping at each of the different armies’ memorials, each with their rows of graves nestled between farmers’ fields.  We visited a {very informative} museum which had been built into the underground tunnels of the town of Albert – and displayed incredibly lifelike scenes of life in the trenches.  Because of these experiences – the service, the memorials, reading the headstones of the unknown soldiers, the museums – I now hold a much more in depth understanding of world war one and the immeasurable loss of life that occurred.  All of those sons, husbands, fathers, brothers – young, strong, men in the prime of their lives .  I’m not sure I’ll ever fully understand the reasons for war, or comprehend the value of these battles, but my respect for those lost, those wounded and those left behind has grown stronger still.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.  Lest We Forget.”

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