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Villers-Bretonneux, France

Anzac Day Service

Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France

Anzac Day Service

Snapshot
Service: Anzac Day Service
Date: Thursday, 25 April 2019
Time: 3:00 am: Australian National Memorial opens
4:00 am: Pre-service program commences
5:30 am: Official commemoration commences
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 passes: Attendance pass required — Register your attendance
Visa requirements: Australian Passport holders — Check your visa requirements
Security: Airport-style screening, including restrictions on liquids, aerosols and gels
Important notes: Due to the installation of technical equipment for the conduct of the commemoration, for safety reasons the central tower of the Australian National Memorial will be closed to the public from Sunday, 21 April 2019.

Further information

Introduction

On 25 April 2019 at 5:30 am, an Anzac Day service will be held at the Australian National Memorial (ANM) situated next to the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery just north of the village of Villers-Bretonneux, France. The ANM is the site of an intense battle fought over 101 years before as part of wider efforts to halt a German spring offensive which was threatening to win them the war.

Throughout early April in 1918 Australian units helped defend Villers-Bretonneux from this onslaught, but at dawn on the 24 April the Germans attacked and captured the town. Leading the British counter attack, the Australian 13 and 15 Brigades enveloped the town and successfully cleared it of Germans on 25 April, the third anniversary of the Anzac landings at Gallipoli.

The Commemoration on 25 April 2019, not only commemorates this remarkable action which effectively ended the German offensive launched a month prior but also marks the 104 anniversary of the Anzac landings at Gallipoli.

Descendants of soldiers

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs has received requests from Australian media outlets for interviews with descendants* of soldiers who served during the First World War, specifically those who served on the former Western Front.

As you have registered to attend the Anzac Day service in France on 25 April 2019, and may be a descendant of an Australian service man or woman who served, 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 in the days leading up to the commemorative service. A staff member will be at the Australian National Memorial near Villers-Bretonneux, France, 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.

*descendant refers to someone in your family ancestry and not just a direct relation. E.g. it may be your great uncle who served.

Attendance passes - ezyTicket

Attendance passes will be delivered via ezyTicket approximately one month before the commemoration. ezyTicket is sent as a PDF attachment to the email address provided when you registered. The ezyTicket must be printed and brought to the commemoration to gain access to the event.

Ticketek box offices

In the lead up to the Commemoration, attendance pass services provider Ticketek will establish box office facilities at the Australian National Memorial (ANM). Visitors can attend box offices to collect their attendance pass or replace damaged or lost passes, with their proof of ID ready.

The box office located at the ANM will be open at the following times:

  • Monday 22 April
    8:30 am – 4:00 pm

  • Tuesday 23 April
    8:30 am – 4:00 pm

  • Wednesday 24 April
    9:30 am – 12:00 pm

Alternatively visitors can collect a copy of their attendance pass on arrival on the morning of the commemoration, with their proof of ID.

Getting to the Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux

The Australian National Memorial (ANM) is located approximately 90 minutes' drive north of Paris and sits adjacent to the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery. It is located on Route de Villers-Bretonneux 80800 Fouilloy, 20km east of Amiens and is roughly half-way between the town of Villers-Bretonneux and the towns of Corbie and Fouilloy.

The ANM site is exposed to the elements with no protection from the prevailing weather conditions. Those attending the Anzac Day Commemorative Service should wear suitably warm and waterproof clothing and footwear to ensure their comfort while participating in the commemorative service. Please note, for safety reasons, umbrellas will not be permitted on the ANM site and ponchos will be distributed in wet weather.

Security and crowd management arrangements will be in place, including airport-style screening and bag searches. A strict prohibited items list will be enforced. Instructions of security personnel must be adhered to at all times.

Limited medical support is provided by French health authorities at the Commemoration. Visitors should ensure to bring their 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.

Traffic arrangements

Traffic management is the responsibility of and managed by the French Authorities.

Road closures

The D23 road, which runs past the ANM, will be closed between Fouilloy and Villers-Bretonneux from 2 pm on 24 April. Other roads in and around Corbie, Fouilloy and Villers-Bretonneux may have access restrictions placed on them during 25 April and these will be controlled by the Gendarmerie.

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 2:45 am 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.

Coach registration

To proceed through the checkpoint and enter the Gendarme-controlled traffic area, each coach must have accreditation to drop off and pick up your clients attending the service on 25 April. Tour Operators will receive their accreditation display cards, as a result of pre-registration, once passing through the Tour Coach Checkpoint at the intersection of D523 and D1029.

Fill out the online form to accredit and register your coach(es)

Coach registrations do not replace individual registrations; an attendance pass is still required for all attendees to the commemoration.

If you have any questions please contact overseascommemorations@dva.gov.au

SJMC shuttle

If you are planning to visit the Sir John Monash Centre (SJMC) on 24 or 25 April, please note the D23 road, which runs past the ANM and the Sir John Monash Centre, will be closed between Fouilloy and Villers-Bretonneux from 2 pm on 24 April until 4 pm on 25 April.

Coaches

Tour coaches with an SJMC booking will be able to access the ANM site using the D23 from Villers-Bretonneux only. For access, an SJMC booking confirmation is required and is to be presented to the Gendarme at the control point. On leaving the ANM site, all coaches must head back in the direction of Villers-Bretonneux.

Private vehicles, 24 April 2019 (from 2 pm)

Visitors with an SJMC booking will be able to access the ANM site in their private vehicle via the D23 from Villers-Bretonneux only. An SJMC booking confirmation is required and is to be presented to the Gendarme at the control point. On leaving the ANM site, all vehicles must head back in the direction of Villers-Bretonneux.

Private vehicles, 25 April 2019

Visitors with an SJMC booking are advised to park their vehicles at the TOP Car Park located at 1 rue de la Gare (D168) in Villers-Bretonneux, from where free public shuttles will run regularly throughout the day. The shuttles will run in a loop from the TOP Car Park in Villers-Bretonneux, to the SJMC and into Amiens train station.

Somme Tourisme shuttle service

Somme Tourisme is offering a shuttle service, departing from Amiens train station, in Amiens town centre, to the ANM. Here is the proposed itinerary:

  • Short itinerary: 3:30 am from Amiens – returning at 8:30 am – tariff 23€
  • Long itinerary: 3:30 am from Amiens – returning at 11:30 am – tariff 25€

The long itinerary gives you the opportunity to attend the Villers-Bretonneux town service, visit the Remembrance Market, and visit the Franco-Australian Museum.

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

Book the Anzac Day Shuttle Service with Somme Tourisme

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 may be restricted on 25 April.

Seating

There is a 300m walk uphill on arrival at the ANM, approximately two AFL field lengths, to access the seating area. Seating at the commemoration 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. Some sections have restricted and/or indirect views of the Commemoration.

Large groups may not be able to sit together and there may be separation from group and/or tour guides. You should make sure that you have your guide's details in case you are separated.

Accessible seating

Limited assistance will be available for visitors at the commemoration who have registered a health or accessibility requirement. Those requesting accessible seating are able to have one carer or companion with them to provide assistance. Unfortunately due to limited accessible seating, it is not possible to extend this service to others travelling with their groups. Visitors with an accessibility requirement will need to alert staff on arrival to the service.

To register your accessible seating request, please register online or email: overseascommemorations@dva.gov.au or register at the information tent on the day of the service.

Accessible seating inclusions

  • Shuttle transfer to and from the front of the ANM to the accessible seating area.
  • Access to a limited number of dedicated accessible toilets.

Accessible seating exclusions

  • Personalised or dedicated one-to-one assistance.
  • The provision of carers, wheelchair pushers, or physical assistance with seating or embarking and disembarking from 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.

You should consult with your doctor regarding the conditions you are likely to experience on site to ensure you can safely travel to Villers-Bretonneux.

Wreath-Laying

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

Members of the public who wish to lay a wreath will have the opportunity to do so at the conclusion of the service. Contrary to previous services during the centenary period, it is no longer a requirement to pre-register. Individuals are to supply their own wreaths 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.

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 25 April and for 26 April and the following two days due to the expected high numbers. To make a booking, go to: https://sjmc.gov.au/book-your-visit/

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 the CWGC website to download the app

On the afternoon of the 25 April

Villers-Bretonneux Anzac Day Town Service (French Service)
Time: 8:30 am
Transport: No transport provided, visitors need to make their own arrangements
Venue: Monument aux Morts, Town Centre, Villers-Bretonneux
Bullecourt Town Service (French Anzac Day Service)
Time: 3:00 pm
Transport: No transport provided, visitors need to make their own arrangements
Venue: The Commonwealth and French Monuments in the Bullecourt village centre – Square du Souvenir Francais
Australian Service at Digger Memorial
Time: 4:00 pm
Transport: Self, no transport arrangements provided
Park in the town of Bullecourt
Venue: Memorial on the village outskirts of Bullecourt

Events in April/May 2019, France

DVA is not hosting these events. For further detail on events around Anzac Day 2019 in France:

Detailed list of events

Contact the Tourist Office of the Somme Valley

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

SJMC App

Once you arrive on site, the SJMC App becomes your personal tour guide. Connect to the free WiFi and use the App in the grounds of the Cemetery and the Memorial to learn the history of the site and find and hear soldier’s stories. Inside the SJMC, the App delivers the audio content directly to you, immersing you in the experience. Remember to bring earphones. The App is available in English, French, and German. Download the App on the App Store or Google Play.

Anzac 360

From battlegrounds like Pozieres, Villers-Bretonneux and Fromelles to museums and memorials like the extraordinary SJMC and awe-inspiring Menin Gate, each of the eight videos tells the story of the men and women who served; and places those stories into the broader context of Australia’s part in the epic conflict waged from 1914 to 1918. Soar over battlefields, explore stunning monuments, go inside ruined bunkers and restored trenches in 360 vision, using a headset or simply holding your phone or tablet. Download the app on the App Store or Google Play.

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

Further Reading

Visitors wishing to locate a particular grave or name on a memorial to the missing should consult the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website 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 may be available on the day.

Contact information

In Australia

Department of Veterans' Affairs

For Consular Assistance in France

Have you registered on Smartraveller? Visit Smartraveller for the latest travel advice

Emergency helpline

Consular emergency centre 24-hour phone service:

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