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ANZACS remembered in Belgium 90 years on.



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Minister for Veterans' Affairs Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence

Thursday 4 October 2007 VA168

ANZACS REMEMBERED IN BELGIUM 90 YEARS ON

Australian and New Zealand soldiers who served in the Third Battle of Ypres, also known as Passchendaele, will be commemorated at a special 90th anniversary 'Anzac Weekend' in Belgium this weekend.

Minister for Veterans' Affairs Bruce Billson said the Governor-General, His Excellency Major General Michael Jeffery AC CVO MC, is representing Australia at the Anzac Commemorative Service marking the 90th anniversary of the battle at Broodseinde on 4 October 1917, a significant action during the Battle of Passchendaele.

"The service will be held at Tyne Cot Cemetery where there are more Australian soldiers buried than in any other war cemetery in the world. Of the 1369 Australians who lie there, 791 are in unidentified graves. Tyne Cot stands on ground taken by Australians during the battle at Broodseinde," Mr Billson said.

"A poignant event will be the re-interment of the remains of five Australian World War I soldiers discovered near the small Belgian town of Westhoek in August last year. They will be buried in Buttes New British Cemetery in Polygon Wood near Zonnebeke.

"Australia's role in the Battle of Passchendaele will also be marked by the opening of an 'Australian Walk', part of the 'Road to Passchendaele' from the town of Zonnebeke to Tyne Cot Cemetery.

"Throughout the weekend visitors to the area, including Australians in France for the Rugby World Cup, can visit the exhibition The Road to Passchendaele: Australia in Flanders 1917 at the Memorial Museum Passchendaele and attend events honouring New Zealand soldiers.

"I have approved a grant of $15,000 to support an international military history conference titled Dead Reckoning: Passchendaele 1917. The conference is part of the 90th anniversary commemorations program and will be held in Ieper (Ypres) on 15-17 November.

"This grant will assist the planning and staging of the conference, at which the organisers have invited a distinguished Australian World War I historian and author, Professor Robin Prior, to be the keynote speaker."

Australia suffered some 32,600 casualties, including more than 12,000 who lost their lives, during the offensive in Belgium from June to October 1917.

"I am very grateful to the local communities that have organised the Anzac Weekend and conference to honour Australians and New Zealanders who

10/10/2007 http://minister.dva.gov.au/media_releases/2007/10_oct/va168.htm

fought and died in their country. We will remember, with the Belgian people, the courage and determination of our soldiers and the suffering of their citizens during the 1917 battles," Mr Billson said.

Media inquiries: Cameron Hill 0408 239 521

10/10/2007 http://minister.dva.gov.au/media_releases/2007/10_oct/va168.htm