I hope you all enjoy reading this article on our return to Pozieres for 101st Anniversary of the Battle of Pozieres.
This year Barry and I were able to enjoy a holiday for the first time as every other time we were busy organizing Commemoration Ceremonies.
We were able to relax and catch up with many friends. Many who travelled from the UK & Ireland specially to see us that meant so much to us. However I will not bore you with details of our relaxation time.
The only reason we travelled to Pozieres this year was that the Australian War Animals Memorial Organisation (AWAMO) opened the 1st ever Memorial out of Australia on Friday 21st July 2017. We were invited as part of the VIP guests.
Nigel Alsop President of (AWAMO) contacted Barry almost 2 years ago and asked if it would be possible to have a small parcel of land in the Pozieres Memorial Park to put the Memorial to all the animals that served and died during WW1.
It was our pleasure to give (AWAMO) a small plot just behind the Windmill Site. With the help of our friends David and Julie Thomson from Number 56 B & B in Ovillers-la-Boisselle who gave their pressures and valuable time helping Nigel with translation from English to French, obtaining quotes etc for various supplies and also working closely with the Mayor of Pozieres Mr Bernard Delattre OAM. So a very special thank you the David and Julie and Bernard Delattre. Nigel and Barry also worked closely together to make (AWAMO) dream a reality and a good friendship evolved.
There were two special guests that attended the opening 1st being Dr Brendon Nelson AO who is the Director of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and the other was Dr Harry Cooper OAM. They both gave wonderful speeches.
At the end of the Ceremony Nigel announced that there were 4 special rose bushes and 2 were named after Brendon Nelson’s and Harry Cooper’s dogs the other 2 were named after Bernard Delattre (Mayor of Pozieres) and Barry Gracey (President of the Pozieres Remembrance Assn. Well done.
Barry and I were lucky to speak privately with Brendon Nelson after the Ceremony and asked if he could spare half hour of his time. He said he would be honoured. So we took him down to see Dominique Zanardi who owns Le Tommy Café in Pozieres. Brendon said that he and Dr Harry had a coffee there before the Ceremony.
What Brendon did not know was about Dominique’s passion for the Australian’s who fought during the Battle of Pozieres nor the research that Dominique had done on finding all the names of the men who died from the Battle and he also did not know about Dominique’s unique collection of WW1 artefacts and Museum.
He was amassed at Dominique’s collection seeing and holding pieces that the Australian War Memorial does not have. He promised Dominique that on his next visit to France he would take a few hours to return to Pozieres and spend time with Dominique to take in all of his collection.
Dr Brendon Nelson AO Director of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and Dominique Zanardi Director and owner of the Pozieres Museum.
Dr Brendon Nelson AO Director of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and Dominique Zanardi Director and owner of the Pozieres Museum. Taken out the back of Le Tommy Café.
On the 23rd July the 101st Anniversary of the Battle of Pozieres a Ceremony was held at 1st Division Memorial and the first English – French Mass was held in the Pozieres Church.
After all the (AWAMO) departed and we only had a couple of days left before we departed. The Mayor Mr Bernard Delattre AOM asked Barry if there was a way that he could organise for Dominique Zanardi to be at the Town Hall. Everything was organised and after picking Dominique up he had no idea where we were going till we arrived at the Town Hall.
Bernard showed Dominique a Statue of a Bronze Horse called “The Charge of Bathsheba”. Dominique was saying how beautiful it was etc. The next thing Bernard and Barry presented the Statue to Dominique saying it was a gift from (AWAMO) to be put on display at Le Tommy Café. All I can say is Dominique was overwhelmed.
Dominique looking at the Bronze Horse
Barry, Dominique and Bernard presenting the Bronze Horse he is almost in tears.
Bronze Horse on display at Le Tommy Café
We meet up with Sculpture and Artist Susan Bahary from USA who made the Bronze Horse for (AWAMO) she was so pleased to see us again. Photo Barry, Dominique, Susan and myself at Le Tommy Café before Dominique put “The Charge of Bathsheba” statue on display.
It was time for us to depart but we did one last thing before flying out. Barry and I took some time in Paris to visit Tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte and Légion d’Honneur Museum both truly amazing.
Now we are home and after the jet lag and us both getting that terrible flu that is going around. We are sort of back to work.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and hope that you enjoy the photos.