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First World War Armistice

Centenary of the First World War Armistice

Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France

Snapshot
Service: Centenary of the First World War Armistice
Date: Sunday, 11 November 2018
Time:

8:00am: Site opens
8:30am: Pre-service starts
10:00am: Everyone to be seated
10:30am: Official service starts

Seating style: Non-allocated seating will be provided for visitors attending the ceremony on a first come, first served basis with individual chairs on the grassed area
Venue: The Australian National Memorial, (outside the village of) Villers-Bretonneux
Weather: Extremely cold (close to freezing)
Attendance: Attendance pass required — Register your attendance
Visa requirements: Australian passport holders — Check your visa requirements
Security: Airport-style screening, including liquids, aerosols and gels

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English

French

Introduction

In late September 1918 Allied troops broke through the Hindenburg Line, Germany’s last defensive position on the Western Front. With her armies in disarray and facing revolution at home, Germany was compelled to admit defeat.

The Armistice, signed by senior Allied and German representatives in the forest at Compiègne outside Paris came into effect at 11:00am on 11 November 1918. At that hour all fighting ceased and on the Western Front soldiers on both sides laid down their arms. In Australia, people poured into town and city streets to celebrate, but festivities were tempered by grief at the enormous loss of life.

While the Armistice ended the fighting, the Treaty of Versailles, signed in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles on 28 June 1919 ended the war. Prime Minister, William Morris (Billy) Hughes and Deputy Prime Minister Joseph Cook signed on Australia’s behalf.

Commemorations marking the cessation of hostilities are held on the anniversary of the Armistice which since the Second World War has been known as Remembrance Day, an occasion to commemorate the dead of all conflicts.

Attendance Pass Holders

An attendance pass is an invitation to the person whose name appears on the pass to gain access to one or more commemorative services (the Commemorations).

Attendance passes have been mailed out via post in early September to the address that you provided in your registration form. If you do not receive the passes prior to your departure you will be able to collect it from the Ticketek box office on the morning of the service.

Ticketek box offices

In the lead up to the Commemoration, attendance pass services provider Ticketek will establish box office facilities at the following locations and times. Visitors can attend box offices to collect their attendance pass or replace damaged or lost passes.

Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux France

  • Friday 9 November, 9:30am – 4:30pm
  • Saturday 10 November, 9:30am – 4:30pm

Mecure Hotel, 2123 rue Flatters, 80000 Amiens France

  • Wednesday 7 November, 9:00am – 11:00am & 3:00pm – 6:00pm
  • Thursday 8 November, 9:00am – 11:00am & 3:00pm – 6:00pm
  • Friday 9 November, 9:00am – 11:00am & 3:00pm – 6:00pm
  • Saturday 10 November. 9:30am – 4:30pm

Descendants of Soldiers

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs has received requests from Australian media outlets for interviews with descendants of soldiers who served on the Western Front.

You may be a descendant of an Australian service man or woman who served on the Western Front, there may be an opportunity for you to share your family’s story.

If you would like to take part, please email communications@dva.gov.au with a brief description of your story and those travelling in your party. In addition, we require your State of residence in Australia and your contact details for the period you are in Europe, preferably a mobile number.

We will then approach some senior, responsible media reporters who will be keen to cover your story. A staff member will be at the Australian National Memorial in Villers-Bretonneux to coordinate media activities and to help you in those interviews, if you wish.

In our experience, the media will be keen to tell your story and this will be positive coverage, particularly given Australia’s centenary commemorations throughout the year.

Should you have any queries or concerns, please contact Dale Starr at dale.starr@dva.gov.au.

Key arrival times

Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. We encourage you to plan your journey and arrival times carefully to ensure that you have sufficient time to progress through security and ensure you get good seats.

A pre-service program, including music from the Australian Defence Force Band and Voices of Birralee Choir, will be provided in the lead-up to the start of the official program at 10:30am.

Below are key times to assist in your planning

7:30am  -  Park and Ride at TOP Car Park opens in Villers-Bretonneux
7:50am  -  First shuttles depart Park and Ride for the ANM
8:00am  -  ANM site opens
8:30am  -  Pre-service presentations and information commence
9:50am  -  Last scheduled shuttle departure from the Park and Ride
10:00am - All to be seated
10:30am - Official commemoration commences

Transport arrangements

Road closures

The D23 road, which runs past the ANM, will be closed between Fouilloy and Villers-Bretonneux from 10pm on 10 November and into the afternoon of 11 November.

Other roads in and around Corbie, Fouilloy and Villers-Bretonneux may have access restrictions placed on them during 11 November and these will be controlled by the Gendarme.

Private vehicles

Private vehicles are to be parked at the TOP Car Park located at 1 Rue de la Gare (D168) in Villers-Bretonneux.

Free public shuttles will run regularly from 7:50am from the Park and Ride at TOP Car Park to the ANM. These shuttles will return patrons to the TOP Car Park in Villers-Bretonneux following the commemorative service.

Coaches

Tour Operator coaches will be able to drive to the ANM, where they will be directed to a designated parking area to unload their passengers. They will remain in this parking area until the completion of the commemorative service, when their passengers will re-join them and they can then depart the ANM.

To access parking, the coaches should approach the ANM along the D23 from the Fouilloy end. On completion of the commemorative service they will depart toward Villers-Bretonneux.

Coach drivers must follow the instructions of the Gendarme and identified Traffic Controllers.

Pedestrians

Patrons may walk to the ANM from the adjacent villages of Corbie, Fouilloy and Villers-Bretonneux along designated pedestrian paths. The walk from Villers-Bretonneux typically takes 45 minutes (3.7km) and walking from Corbie and Fouilloy takes approximately 30 minutes (2km).

It should be noted, however, that parking in these villages maybe restricted on 11 November.

Map of the TOP Carpark and Villers-Bretonneux Train Station

Shuttle service

Somme Tourisme is offering a shuttle service, departing from Amiens train station, in Amiens town centre, to the ANM. There are two available itineraries:

  • Short itinerary for a fee of €21.00: departure at 8:15am from Amiens train station to the ANM. The return to the train station is scheduled for 12:30pm.
  • Long itinerary for a fee of €25.00: departure at 8:15am from Amiens train station to the ANM. Shuttle to the 12:30pm ceremony in Villers-Bretonneux town centre. The return to Amiens train station is scheduled for 2:30pm.

Each shuttle will include a ‘coach captain’ to facilitate the organisation and management of participants and assist passengers as required.

Bookings for the shuttle service can be made through the following website: http://www.somme-battlefields.com/event/centenary-first-world-war-armistice-villers-bretonneux

Arriving at the commemorative service

Regardless of how you arrive at the ANM, on arrival you will be directed by commemorative staff onto the grassed promenade at the front of the site. Here you will have your attendance pass scanned and undergo security screening before entering the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery and moving towards the commemorative area at the ANM.

When you approach the staff undertaking attendance pass scanning, you should have your attendance passes and identification ready for inspection. If you have lost your attendance pass or need to collect them, you should proceed to the clearly marked Box Office to have them replaced or issued prior to approaching the attendance pass scanning area.

Once you have had your attendance pass scanned, you will then proceed to the security screening area where you will be subjected to a search by handheld metal detectors and physical inspection of your bags.

Please ensure you have familiarised yourself with the prohibited items list and do not bring these items to the commemorative service, or they will be confiscated at the security screening point. If you do have an item confiscated you will be issued with an identifying ticket and you can reclaim the item at the security screening tent on your departure at the end of the commemorative service. Please note that there is free bottled water available at the ANM for your consumption.

After passing through the security screening, you will be provided with a visitor information bag and you are then free to move through the cemetery to the public seating in front of the ANM. The distance from the promenade to the commemorative area in front of the ANM is approximately 300m and is uphill. Should you require any assistance getting from the promenade to the commemorative area, please approach one of the easily identifiable commemorative staff.

Map of Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery and the Australian National Memorial

Post-service information

Once the service is concluded you will be asked to remain seated while the Official Party departs and the post-service procedures are put in place.

Due to the traffic arrangements implemented by the French authorities and the size of the crowd in attendance, it may take some time for you to depart the site. We ask you to remain patient and follow the directions of the government officials.

For those members of the public wishing to view the Memorial and the floral tributes after the service, commemorations staff will be located at the centre aisle and on the left and right hand sides of the VIP seating area.

Details are displayed on the Memorial Wall in battalion order, from left to right. Knowing the battalion and soldier’s surname will help you to determine which queue you should join on the morning. Assistance can be provided at the Information Tent on arrival or by the staff in attendance.

It is anticipated that many people will be wanting to view the Memorial which still has infrastructure in place from the service. We ask you to be patient and listen to the directions of the staff on the morning. Your safety is paramount. Due to the floral tributes and other infrastructure, access to the Tower will not be possible after the service.

Departures from the commemorative service

Private vehicles

Shuttles will depart from the ANM on completion of the commemorative service. They will depart from the same point on the D23 that they dropped you on arrival. This point will be clearly sign posted and commemorative staff will be on hand to provide direction. The shuttles will return you directly to the TOP Car Park in Villers-Brettoneux where you left your vehicle.

The shuttles will run on a continuous loop until all patrons have been returned to their vehicles. The trip from the ANM to the TOP Car Park will take approximately 10 minutes. It is expected that it will take between 1 and 1.5 hours to return all patrons to the TOP Car Park.

Coaches

On completion of the commemorative service, all Tour Leaders should arrange to meet all of their patrons at a designated spot before moving as a group down the promenade and then to their coach via the designated pedestrian path. The path to the coaches will be clearly signposted and commemorative staff will be on hand to provide direction.

When the coach is loaded, identified Traffic Controllers and Gendarme will direct its departure. All coaches will turn left onto the D23 and depart towards Villers-Bretonneux.

The directions of identified Traffic Controllers and Gendarme are to be obeyed.

Pedestrians

Anyone who walked to the ANM can return to the adjacent villages on foot as well. Commemorative staff, Traffic Controllers and Gendarme will provide direction on crossing from the ANM Promenade to the designated pedestrian paths.

Shuttle service

The Somme Tourisme shuttles will depart from the ANM on completion of the commemorative service. They will depart from the same point on the D23 that they dropped you on arrival. This point will be clearly sign posted and commemorative staff will be on hand to provide direction.

What to expect

Attending this centenary Commemoration is a once in a lifetime experience, but it is important that you know what to expect. The ANM has no permanent seating infrastructure or shelter. As the Commemoration will be in the morning at an outdoor venue, it is important that you ensure you are prepared for the very cold conditions experienced in November and the potential for wet weather.

You should expect to walk 300 metres uphill when you arrive at the ANM, approximately two AFL field lengths, to access the seating area.

Limited accessible seating and support are provided to those with a need. While seating will be provided for all attendance pass holders, they are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis and some sections have restricted and/or indirect views of the Commemoration.

Security and crowd management arrangements will be in place, including airport-style screening and bag searches. A strict prohibited items list will be enforced and can be viewed here. You should follow the instructions of security personnel at all times.

Limited medical support is provided by French health authorities at the Commemoration. You should ensure you bring your own medication, including non-prescription pain relief medication as this is not available from authorities on site. The medical support provided is equipped for medical emergencies and is not designed to treat minor ailments.

Seating

Seating at commemorations is not allocated or reserved (other than a limited area for Accessible seating visitors who have registered) and is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

You should be aware that large groups may not be able to sit together and you may be separated from your group and/or tour guide. You should make sure that you have your guide’s contact details in case you are separated.

Accessible seating services

If you nominated within your application a requirement for accessible seating services, your accessible seating pass will be sent with your attendance pass. Each registered individual will receive two accessible seating passes one for the individual with the need and one for a carer or accompanying person. Both you and the carer, or accompanying guest must hold an attendance pass to the Commemoration in their own right. If you have left Australia before receiving these passes, you can collect them at the information tent on arrival.

Accessible seating inclusions

  • Use of wheelchair accessible shuttles along all event shuttle transport routes
  • Transport from the coach set down point at the ANM to the accessible seating area
  • Access to a limited number of dedicated accessible toilets
  • Transport from the accessible seating area to the Coach pick-up point at the ANM

Accessible seating exclusions

  • Personalised or dedicated one-to-one assistance
  • Carers, wheelchair pushers, or physical assistance with seating or embarking and disembarking vehicles
  • Wheelchairs, walkers or mobility aids (any visitor requiring this assistance must bring their own)
  • Oxygen or personalised medications
  • Specialised support for ’high care’ individuals
  • Support travelling to, or from, your accommodation

Health, fitness and first aid

Visitors will often need to stand and queue for long periods at times, for security screening to enter the commemorative sites, as well as for the limited public amenities. You may be required to walk long distances, over rough and uneven ground.

Limited medical support is provided by local health authorities at the commemorative sites. If you require any medical equipment, including medications, wheelchairs or mobility aids, you will need to bring these with you.

Medical support is designed to deal with medical emergencies. It is recommended you bring Band-Aids, aspirin/paracetamol and sunscreen with you as these are not provided by the first aid teams.

What to take

Prior to progressing through security, you should have your attendance pass and photographic ID such as current passport (or a copy of your passport), current Australian driving licence, or current national identity card readily accessible and within reach for validation.

In your preparations, consider that you will experience very cold and sometimes wet conditions on the morning of the Commemoration.

You will also need to ensure they have everything needed for the morning in a small bag, or day-pack. Your bag should not be any larger than that allowed as carry-on luggage on a plane.

What to pack

  • Attendance Pass and passport, (or appropriate photo identification)
  • Wet weather and windproof jacket and pants
  • Warm clothing for single digit temperatures
  • Prescription medication (if required)
  • Non-perishable food and snacks
  • Drinking water (opened bottles will not be allowed through security screening, however, water will be available on site)
  • Sunscreen (for later in the morning)
  • Compact personal camera

Prohibited items

The following items are prohibited at the Commemoration:

  • Dangerous or hazardous items of any kind including fireworks, flares, lasers and smoke canisters
  • Advertising or marketing messages
  • Large backpacks (day-packs, e.g. aircraft cabin bag sized are acceptable)
  • Furniture or camping equipment including tents, folding chairs and stretchers
  • Alcohol of any kind
  • Smoking at the Commemorative site
  • Glass containers and cans of any kind
  • Opened bottles of liquid
  • Flammable liquids
  • Weapons or sharp objects, including umbrellas (a poncho will be issued in the information pack provided)
  • Large objects
  • Musical instruments of any kind and any other object that may be used to cause a disturbance including air horns and vuvuzelas
  • Hiking poles (medical aids, such as walkers and walking sticks will be permitted subject to medical need)
  • Large flags or banners
  • Professional photographic equipment (e.g. large zoom lenses – no larger than 100mm, audio visual or cinematographic devices apart from accredited media)
  • ‘Selfie’ sticks and large camera tripods
  • Drones and remote control devices
  • Any other item that might compromise public safety or enjoyment of the Commemoration or that is illegal under the laws of Australia or the host country

Lenses with a total focal strength of greater than 100mm or any other commercial digital video equipment are not permitted at this Commemorative event. In order to preserve the solemnity of the commemoration, and as this event will be broadcast live, roaming by the general public to take photos during the service is not permitted. Accredited media will also be restricted to a media zone area.

These items can either be left in your vehicle, or surrendered for temporary confiscation at the security check point where your bags will be checked as part of the security screening process. Temporarily confiscated items can be collected upon return through the check point. If items are not collected upon return, they may be disposed of.

Laying a wreath

Wreath laying, by invited official representatives, will occur during the services.

Members of the public who wish to lay a wreath or floral tribute (wreath/tribute) will have the opportunity to do so at the conclusion of the service. Those members of the public who wish to lay a wreath/tribute are required to register their details by emailing the following details to overseascommemorations@dva.gov.au — wreath-laying registrations from the public will need to be submitted by 16:00 AEDT (06:00 GMT+1) 9 November 2018:

  • your attendance pass registration Application ID Number
  • the name and title of the person(s) laying the wreath/tribute
  • the name of the organisation/group or the person/relative being represented

Members of the public who are laying a wreath/tribute are to supply their own and it is their responsibility to carry it with them, care for it and transport it to the Memorial. There are no facilities or arrangements for storage or transport of personal wreaths at the Memorial.

Visit the Sir John Monash Centre

The brand new Sir John Monash Centre (SJMC) in Villers-Bretonneux is a must-see for Australian visitors. Opened on 24 April 2018, the Centre offers an outstanding Western Front experience for visitors. The Sir John Monash Centre tells Australia’s story of the Western Front in the words of those who served. Set on the grounds of the Australian National Memorial this cutting-edge multimedia centre reveals the Australian Western Front experience through a series of interactive media installations and immersive experiences.

You can download the SJMC app prior to your visit.

The Sir John Monash Centre will be open from midday on 11 November. In order to visit the centre on this day, people will need to make a booking. Bookings will also need to be made in the days leading up to 11 November and for 12 and 13 November due to the expected high numbers. To make a booking, go to: https://sjmc.gov.au/book-your-visit/

Guides, apps and other event information

Australian Remembrance Trail

Explore the Australian Remembrance Trail online, with access to audio guides, interactive maps, images and historical information. You will step back in time, reliving the experiences of the soldiers of the Australian Imperial Force. Stay informed of updates to the Australian Remembrance Trail via The Anzac Portal.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's (CWGC) war graves app provides information about the cemeteries around the world and allows you to search for the location of an individual’s war grave. Visit CWGC to download the app.

Australian Embassy in Paris

Find out about the broad range of events organised by local French communities in the Somme around November and throughout the year. Download the 2018 commemoration ceremony dates calendar.

Further reading

Visitors wishing to locate a particular grave or name on a memorial to the missing should consult Commonwealth War Graves Commission to identify the exact location of the grave or name on a 'memorial to the missing' prior to travelling to France or Belgium. Limited assistance will be available on the day.

Contact information

In Australia

Department of Veterans' Affairs

For Consular Assistance in France

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Emergency helpline

Consular emergency centre 24-hour phone service:

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