House debates

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Statements by Members

Murray Electorate: Pozieres Remembrance Association

1:43 pm

Photo of Damian DrumDamian Drum (Murray, National Party, Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

Pozieres is a small village in the Somme valley in France, and it was the scene of bitter and costly fighting for the 1st, 2nd and 4th Australian divisions in mid-1916, during World War I. The village was captured initially by the 1st Division on 23 July; by the time it was relieved on 27 July it had suffered 5,285 casualties. The 2nd Division took over from the 1st and mounted two further attacks, the first on July 29, and again the Australians suffered heavily from the retaliatory bombardments. They were relieved on 6 August and suffered 6,848 casualties. Then the 4th Division took over, and it too endured massive artillery bombardment and defeated a German counterattack on 7 August. This was the last attempt by the Germans to retake Pozieres.

What was initially put forward as a diversion battle ended up lasting 42 days. Some 6,800 Australian men were killed or died of their wounds. This was Australia's greatest loss in any of our First World War battles. While the memorial park is getting built in Pozieres, Barry and Yvonne Gracie are requesting that every Australian donate a $50 brick. They are asking all parliamentarians to get on board this fantastic initiative and support the Pozieres Remembrance Association. (Time expired)