Posted on 22. Apr, 2010 in News

The Premier, John Brumby, today acknowledged 19 young Victorians who lost their lives on the fields of Fromelles, France during the First World War at the annual luncheon to mark the 95th anniversary of Anzac Day.

The Premier and Minister assisting him with Veterans’ Affairs, Tony Robinson, were joined by veterans from the World War Two European and Pacific campaigns, the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in Japan and veterans from the Korean War, the Malayan Emergency and Vietnam War, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mr Brumby said 203 Australian soldiers who fought on the Western Front 94 years ago had been considered missing in action and presumed dead until the uncovering of a mass grave at Pheasant Wood in 2008.

Mr Brumby named the 19 missing soldiers so they could take their rightful place among the honoured dead.

“The identification of these brave soldiers, including 19 Victorians has helped end an agonising chapter in our nation’s wartime history,” Mr Brumby said.

“This Sunday, many Victorians will remember these lost diggers of Fromelles and the thousands of Australian soldiers who made the unimaginable sacrifice on the Western Front in July 1916 and October 1918.

“In all, around 50,000 diggers lost their lives on the Western Front. Over 1900 Australians lost their lives in a single day in Fromelles and the casualty toll exceeded 5,500.

“Anzac Day is a time to reflect on and acknowledge these soldiers and the thousands more men and women who have fought and died for our country.”

Mr Brumby announced that the Victorian Government, in partnership with the Shrine of Remembrance and the Friends of the 15th Brigade would be holding a service at the “Cobbers” statue on 19 July to commemorate the 94th anniversary of the Battle of Fromelles.

“I want to invite all Australians that cannot attend the ceremony at Fromelles to come and pay their respects to these soldiers at the Shrine,” he said.

Mr Robinson said there were more than 100,000 Victorian men and women in Victoria’s veterans’ community who had served in international conflicts including World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Malaya and Borneo emergencies, the Indonesian confrontation, Vietnam, and the two Gulf wars.

“On Anzac Day, we will pause to remember the bravery of our veterans and of Victorians serving in conflicts and peacekeeping missions around the world today,” he said.

“Honouring our veterans will keep the memory of their courage and sacrifices alive in our communities so their legacy will never be forgotten.”

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