Today Australia remembers the sacrifice made by Australian servicemen on the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Pozières.
The Battle of Pozières (23 July, 1916 to 3 September, 1916) saw three Australian Divisions capture and hold the village of Pozières and from there launch 19 attacks.
When the Australians were relieved on 3 September, 1st ANZAC Corps had suffered 24,139 casualties, including 6,731 dead.
Australia’s official war historian Charles Bean wrote that the site of the old windmill marked a “ridge more densely sown with Australian sacrifice than any other place on earth”.
A commemorative service will be conducted today at the site of the 1st Australian Division Memorial at Pozières at 4pm (12 midnight AEST).
Three unknown Australian soldiers whose remains were located nearby will be reinterred with full military honours.
The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, said the Battle of Pozières was an integral chapter in Australia’s history and one that would never be forgotten.
“The Battle of Pozières was a military success — our soldiers captured the village and held it, but success came at a terrible cost,” Mr Tehan said.
More Australians were lost in eight weeks of fighting in France than during eight months on Gallipoli the previous year.
It was a bloody and brutal battle and it is difficult to think about what those Australians endured, as we reflect on the price they paid defending the freedoms we enjoy today.
The 100th anniversary is an opportunity to reflect on the sacrifice of those who served in the First World War and also the one million plus Australians who have served, and continue to serve, in defence of our country.