After the opening of the Pozieres Memorial Park, the Mayor of Pozieres Mr Bernard Delattre and invited guests Yvonne Gracey-Hall and Barry Gracey the people of Pozieres and the public were invited to the Official opening of the Marie Salle de Fete (Council Chambers and Community Hall).
After the official ribbon cutting we were invited inside to view the new centre.
After the opening ceremony, there was an official presentation by General de Brigade Francois Loeuillet President of Légion d’honneur presenting to Yvonne Gracey-Hall and Barry Gracey the Chevalier (Knight) of the Légion d’honneur
This award was the first time in history that it had ever been bestowed on a couple.
The Mayor Mr Bernard Delattre had previously petitioned the Republic of France for them to receive the Order Nationale de Merit (equivalent to Australia’s OAM) to Yvonne and Barry for their tireless efforts to the Village of Pozieres and the fallen Australian soldiers that lie there. President Francois Holland personally intervened and upgraded the award to the
Chevalier (Knight) of the Légion d’honneur the highest French order for military and civil merits, established by Napoleon Bonaparte 1802
It was fitting that Yvonne and Barry humbly accepted this honour in the new Council Chambers and Community Hall in the village that is their second home and the community of Pozieres that they are so passionate about. It was an extremely proud moment for them and the Pozieres Remembrance Association and the Village of Pozieres
Later that afternoon, after the completion of the official Australian Government’s 100 year commemoration of the Battle Pozieres at the 1st Division Memorial, the Australian Ambassador to France Mr Stephen Brady AO presented an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) to the Mayor of Pozieres, Mr Bernard Delattre for his work on Australian/France relations and his tireless work to protect and respect the thousands of unknown soldiers that lie in the fields of Pozieres.
It was an incredibly proud moment for the Pozieres Remembrance Association as the group have been working closely with The Mayor to bring the Pozieres Memorial Park to fruition. It was also fitting that the presentation of the Medal was done in front of so many Australians and the local villagers in an event that was dedicated to the 100 year memorial of the Battle of Pozieres and all those Australians that will forever more be part of Pozieres.