Posted on 05 August 2016
The poppies knitted by the Ormiston College community were proudly presented to the Mayor of Pozieres, Mr Bernard Delattre, along with a photo book of our Remembrance Day Ceremony in November 2015; the photo book will be displayed in the local school. The Pozieres Remembrance Association placed our red poppies on 7,000 white crosses which were laid out in the newly purchased land, surrounding the Windmill commemorative site at Pozieres, a small village in Northern France.
The crosses were laid out in the rising sun design, the emblem of the armed forces. Each cross represented an Australian who died in the Battle of Pozieres with 4,112 of those brave men never found. The land purchased by the Association was kindly funded through donations by Australian individuals, companies and RSLs. The Mayor of Pozieres and the President of the Association, Mr Barry Gracey, opened the park on 23 July 2016; 100 years on from the start of the Battle of Pozieres. A moving Remembrance Service was held featuring the 7,000 crosses and a replica of Captain Margett's cross with a knitted poppy wreath in the foreground.
Australian, New Zealand, British, Canadian and German flags were placed on the ground to symbolise the placing of a flag on a soldier’s coffin, as they are forever buried in the fields of Pozieres. Australian gum leaves were burnt at the ceremony so they could again have the smell of home. A lone piper played on the hill of the Windmill site as the Ode for the Fallen was read. Many families laid flowers to commemorate the 100 years.
The purchase of the land will now mean these soldiers will never be disturbed and a peaceful memorial park with gardens is planned to be built over the coming year. The crosses form a fitting and poignant tribute to the loss of so many lives.
The official Australian Government commemoration was held at the Australian 1st Division Memorial site and this was broadcast on the ABC.
Prestigious honours were bestowed on those involved, with the Legionel d'Honneur Medal awarded to Mr Barry and Mrs Yvonne Gracey for their work for Pozieres, and at the end of the official Australian Government ceremony, the Mayor of Pozieres was presented an Honorary AOM by the Australian Ambassador.
The week was a busy and emotional experience for many volunteers. The very fabric of the town is entwined with Australia and the services have reflected this. We hope that Pozieres will start to be understood and never be forgotten.
We at Ormiston College and our wider community can be very proud of our contribution towards this significant Remembrance.
Many thanks again to all our volunteers who contributed to knitting poppies.
Mrs Samantha Allen
MOCCHA Club Co-ordinator