REMEMBERED: Students and teachers from Xavier Catholic College Hervey Bay at Villers-Bretonneux war memorial in France.
REMEMBERED: Students and teachers from Xavier Catholic College Hervey Bay at Villers-Bretonneux war memorial in France. Contributed

Bay students' sobering visit to the Somme

SENIOR French students from Xavier Catholic College Hervey Bay learnt the true meaning of Lest We Forget during a recent trip to France.

The first stop for the Year 11 and 12 students was the Amiens cathedral, which was used as hospital during World War I.

Xavier Catholic College dean of college identity and promotions Matthew Ninnes said the highlight of the trip was visiting the battlefields of Somme, which was made possible by a generous contribution from the Hervey Bay Returned Services League.

 

Pictures from the war memorial in France.
Pictures from the war memorial in France. Contributed

"The first stop was to the Amiens cathedral, a beautiful structure which was used as a hospital during World War 1," Mr Ninnes said.

"The cathedral features a plaque dedicated to the Australian forces who defended the city of Amiens from the German onslaught during this period.

"The Villers-Bretonneux Australian National War Memorial was the next stop."

 

A student places a poppy on one of 10,773 names of Australian soldiers of the Australian Imperial Force who have no known grave and were killed 1916 and the end of the war.
A student places a poppy on one of 10,773 names of Australian soldiers of the Australian Imperial Force who have no known grave and were killed 1916 and the end of the war. Contributed

Mr Ninnes said the memorial featured more than 10,000 names of Australian soldiers who were killed during the war and are without a grave.

"Located near the commune of Villers-Bretonneux, in the Somme department of France, this stunning structure features 10,773 names of soldiers of the Australian Imperial Force with no known grave who were killed between 1916, when Australian forces arrived in France and Belgium, and the end of the war.

"The visit to the Franco-Australian museum and the Victoria school were a vivid reminder of Australia's significant contribution to the war effort.

 

Students and teachers at Villers-Bretonneux war memorial in France.
Students and teachers at Villers-Bretonneux war memorial in France. Contributed

"The school building is the gift from the children of the state of Victoria, Australia, to the children of Villers-Bretonneux as proof of their love and goodwill towards France.

"Inside the school playground, students were significantly moved by the Aboriginal artwork and a huge sign above the playground - 'Do Not Forget Australia'."



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