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Battle of El Alamein – Canberra

75th anniversary of the Battle of El Alamein – Australian War Memorial, Canberra

Background

El Alamein was one of the Second World War’s decisive battles. Fighting in the El Alamein area of western Egypt began in July 1942. Australian troops were in action at Ruin Ridge that month and at Tel el Eisa in September. The main battle was fought between 23 October to 5 November 1942 when the British 8th Army, which included the Australian 9th Division, launched a major offensive against German and Italian forces. The Australians played a key role in the battle, driving forward on the British right flank along the Mediterranean coast and withstanding a series of determined counter-attacks, some in division strength. Allied attacks in the south eased the pressure and when British armour broke through, German forces began to withdraw. The German advance on Cairo, the Suez and ultimately the oil fields of the Middle East was at an end. The Germans never regained the initiative, and their last troops left North Africa in 1943. The 9th Division suffered more than 2600 casualties, about one-fifth of the 8th Army’s losses.

Commencing at approximately 4.55 pm AEDT, the Australian War Memorial will commemorate those lost in the Battle of El Alamein with its moving Last Post Ceremony, held in the Memorial’s Commemorative courtyard.

The ceremony will begin with the singing of the Australian National Anthem, followed by the poignant strains of a lament, played by a piper. Visitors are invited to lay wreaths and floral tributes beside the Pool of Reflection.  The story behind El Alamein will be told and the Ode is then recited by men and women of the Australian Defence Force. The ceremony ends with the sounding of the Last Post.

The Last Post Ceremony is an increasingly popular public event. The Memorial is unable to reserve space for groups so, to ensure you are able to secure a spot to view the ceremony, we recommend early arrival.

To enable anyone in Australia or overseas to view the Last Post ceremony, it is broadcast live daily on the Memorial’s website as well as on the Memorial's dedicated Last Post Ceremony YouTube channel and Facebook, from approximately 4.55 pm AEST. The ceremony is a memorable occasion, engaging visitors and offering them the opportunity to remember those Australians who have lost their lives in war and to reflect on their service and sacrifice.

Further information can be found here.

Contact Information

Department Veterans’ Affairs
GPO Box 9998
BRISBANE QLD 4001
Email: anzaccentenaryprojects2@dva.gov.au
Telephone: (02) 6289 6057

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