After the crosses and poppies arrived in Pozieres, the preparation work took place in a barn owned by locals Marie-Genevieve and Joel Pelletier and who so kindly helped Lyn Lee along with other villagers over 10 days, to undertake the final stage to get the 7,000 poppies all threaded through the crosses and stapled at the back. They then all had a sticker added onto the cross saying “Australia 1916 Pozieres”.
During this time, Mike Lee spent each day out at the Pozieres Memorial Park preparing the layout with string lines and creating templates for marking the cross spacing.
Sunday 17th July was the day the first crosses were placed into the ground. Many interested on-lookers who were visiting the windmill memorial came over to admire our work and many people also volunteered some time to use our mallets to help bang the crosses into the ground.
The ground had been previously planted with grass seeds by Joel which made for a green field and whilst the ground was hard, the crosses went in well with lots of bending and the odd blister after all the mallet use.
The layout of the crosses is designed to represent the Australian armed forces emblem featuring the rising sun. The overall size is 88m wide and the longest ray is 45m (almost the length of a rugby league field). A long ray is 654 crosses.
On this first day we finished 2 long and 1 short rays with the help of about 10 Aussies.
The next 2 days will be busy getting the remaining crosses in the ground ready for the aerial photography by David Bailey via ultralight on Wednesday 20th July.
Good to see the project finally coming to fruition.