The burial service for three Australian soldiers at Pozières British Cemetery (Photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission)

Three unknown soldiers buried as Australia marks Pozières Centenary

Posted on on 26 July 2016
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Australia has remembered its first action on the Somme with commemorations marking the Battle of Pozières in the summer of 1916.  

Ahead of the Centenary service in France on July 23rd, three unknown Australian soldiers were laid to rest with full military honours at Pozières British Cemetery.

Efforts to identify their remains - found in farmland - have so far not been successful after three years of research.

Lieutenant General Angus Campbell, Chief of the Australian Army, led the tributes: "These men gave all in their service," he said.

"The Australian Army is committed to doing all it can to identify them. Today, 100 years after they fell we will lay them to rest among their mates. We take solace in the fact that their identity as Australian soldiers has been restored."

Australian troops, newly-arrived on the Western Front in 1916 to support Britain, suffered 23,000 casualties in six weeks of fighting for Pozières and heavily defended German positions at nearby Mouquet Farm from July-September.

Charles Bean, Australia's official historian of the First World War, observed that Pozières Ridge “is more densely sown with Australian sacrifice than any other place on earth."

Pozières commemorated at the 1st Australian Division Memorial (Photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission)

Those losses were remembered in the July 23 Centenary service held at the 1st Australian Division Memorial. 

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Dan Tehan, described the Battle of Pozières as 'an integral chapter in Australia’s history', and an event that would never be forgotten.

"The Battle of Pozières was a military success - our soldiers captured the village and held it, but success came at a terrible cost," Mr Tehan said.

“More Australians were lost in eight weeks of fighting in France than during eight months on Gallipoli the previous year.

"It was a bloody and brutal battle and it is difficult to think about what those Australians endured, as we reflect on the price they paid defending the freedoms we enjoy today."

Also in Centenary News:

Australia honours the Fallen at Fromelles

Sources: Australian Army; Australian War Memorial, Canberra; Government of South Australia; Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC)

Images courtesy of CWGC

Posted by: CN Editorial Team