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ANZAC at the Western Front in 1916

Date : 01 / 07 / 2016
Author : Jim Linton - VK3PC

The Geelong Amateur Radio Club in Victoria will in July commemorate Australia’s engagement in battle as the ANZACs fought at Fromelles and Poziéres in France on the Western Front in WWI.

With support from the Wireless Institute of Australia, the Geelong Amateur Radio Club will activate the VK100ANZAC callsign. A special QSL card has been designed and offered to all in the log.

The club joins a wreath laying service at the Shrine of Remembrance precinct in Melbourne on July 19, with others commemorating the centenary of the Western Front. Those battles for freedom have resulted in a close relationship between France and Australia.

The club has been eagerly supported by Don Breguet aged 81, who lives at Lara near Geelong, and related to one of the fallen. He recently was told that his DNA matched one of the last four unidentified soldiers from the mass grave at Pheasant Woods, Fromelles. The previously unnamed grave is that of Geelong digger Justin Breguet, who died during Australia’s bloodiest 24 hours at war. Fromelles was Australia’s greatest military catastrophe, with 5,500 killed and wounded in 12 hours.

WIA President Phil Wait VK2ASD has outlined the VK100ANZAC event and formally invited Reseau des Emetteurs Francais (REF) to be part of the commemoration. Among other overseas interest has come from the Radio Club du Nord de la France F8KKH, near Roubaix, and the Mayor of Roubaix, a city close to the battlefields.

The State Minister for Veterans Affairs, John Eren, has written a letter to the Premier of the French Region of Pas de Calais-Picardy, which in part states: “Since that appalling conflict, there has existed a bond of friendship between the peoples of Australia and France in the knowledge that so many of the youth of both countries lie together and are remembered at the Fromelles Memorial Park, Poziéres , Villers Bretonneux and on many other battle-field memorials.”

VK100ANZAC will be set up on HF and VHF from July 19 to 21 at Osborne House in North Geelong, which was Australia’s first Naval College. Local officials are also expected. The club has endorsed as its ANZAC Ambassador for the Western Front, Ken Jewell VK3NW, who has a broad knowledge of military history, and organiser of the project is Barry Abley VK3SY.


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