Anzac Day 2017 in Belgium Program
Please find below the Anzac Day program in Belgium for Tuesday 25th April, 2017, with accompanying notes and weblinks. Please note the program is subject to change and you are advised to regularly check the Embassy's website in the lead-up to Anzac Day. The program notes commemorations held jointly with New Zealand but its Embassy organises other commemoration services as well.
The Embassy kindly requests that all members of the public arrive and be in position at least 15 minutes prior to the commencement of each service. Local authorities have advised visitors not to carry large bags and umbrellas to the events.
Monday 24 April
Special Last Post Ceremony to officially unveil and inaugurate Menin Gate Lions- Ieper/Ypres
Location: Menin Gate
Address: Meenestraat, Ypres/Ieper
Notes: The Menin Gate Lions will be officially unveiled and inaugurated during a special Last Post ceremony on Monday 24th April. The Menin Lions had originally stood on plinths on either side of the Menin Gate at Ypres/Ieper until they were donated to the Australian War Museum in 1936. Their return is part of 100th anniversary WW1 commemorations and they will remain at Menin Gate until 11 November 2017. In conjunction, In Flanders Fields 14-18 will hold an exhibition about them.
Anzac Day Tuesday 25 April
Joint Australia/New Zealand Dawn Service - Polygon Wood, Zonnebeke
Duration: approx. 35 minutes
Location: Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood
Address: Polygon Wood, Lange Dreve, Zonnebeke
Notes: The commune of Zonnebeke is again providing free shuttlebuses and a post-Dawn Service breakfast. The shuttle service starts at 5am at parking C Bellewaerde (Frezenbergstraat) and the breakfast at 7:30am. Members of the public attending the Dawn Service are advised to make use of this shuttle service because parking near the cemetery is very restricted. Those wishing to attend the breakfast are required to purchase on-line an e-ticket (€5).
Polygon Wood is a large wood south of Zonnebeke which was completely devastated in the First World War. On top of the butte is the Battle Memorial of the 5th Australian Division, which captured it on 26 September 1917. The Buttes New British Cemetery is an irregular front-line cemetery established between August 1917 and April 1918, and used again in September 1918. There are 2,108 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in Buttes New British Cemetery.
Tyne Cot Commemoration Service - Zonnebeke
Duration: approx. 30 minutes
Location: Tyne Cot Cemetery
Address: Vijfwegenstraat 1, Zonnebeke
Notes: 'Tyne Cot' or 'Tyne Cottage' was the name given by the Northumberland Fusiliers to a barn which stood near the level crossing on the Passchendaele-Broodseinde road. Five or six German blockhouses, or pill-boxes, were built around it and overlooked the surrounding countryside. As such, it was strategically important to both sides fighting in the area. The area was captured by the 3rd Australian Division and the New Zealand Division on 4 October 1917 in the advance on Passchendaele. A Cross of Sacrifice (common to CWGC cemeteries) was built on top of a German pill box in the centre of the cemetery. At is base is a memorial plaque to the 3rd Australian Division. There are 1353 Australian graves in what is the largest British and Commonwealth war cemetery in the world.
The Tyne Cot Memorial forms the north-eastern boundary of Tyne Cot Cemetery and commemorates nearly 35,000 servicemen from the United Kingdom and New Zealand who died in the Ypres Salient after 16 August 1917 and whose graves are not known. The memorial stands close to the farthest point in Belgium reached by Commonwealth forces in the First World War until the final advance to victory.
Joint Australian/New Zealand Procession and Menin Gate Service – Ypres/Ieper
Duration: approx. 25 minutes
Location: Ieper/Ypres Town Hall and Menin Gate
Address: Grote Markt/Meenestraat, Ieper/Ypres
Notes: In Ieper/Ypres, the Australian delegation will meet the New Zealand delegation and local officials. All will march in procession from the Cloth Hall to the Menin Gate for an Anzac Day Service with the Last Post ceremony, and then to the Belgian War Memorial.
Joint A/NZ wreath laying ceremony Belgian War Memorial – Ypres/Ieper
Duration: approx. 10 minutes
Address: Behind Cloth Hall, Rijselsestraat 6, Ieper/Ypres
Ploegsteert Toronto Avenue Cemetery Commemoration Service - Comines-Warneton
Duration: approx. 30 minutes
Location: Toronto Avenue Cemetery
Address: Ploegsteert Wood, Huttebergweg, Comines-Warneton
Notes: Toronto Avenue Cemetery in Ploegsteert is the only all Australian cemetery in Belgium, and one of only two on the entire Western Front (the other being VC Corner Cemetery in France). It contains 78 graves of officers and men of the 9th Brigade (3rd Australian Division) who died in the Battle of Messines between 7 and 10 June 1917. The cemetery was established by the Australian 3rd Division with the onset of the Battle of Messines on 7 June 1917.
Toronto Avenue is nestled in Ploegsteert Wood and is reached by walking along a rough, at times muddy, path. The public are asked to remain outside the walls of the very small cemetery for the duration of the service. There is no parking nearby and members of the public wishing to attend the commemoration service are strongly advised to make use of the free shuttle service provided by the authorities of Comines-Warneton. This shuttle service starts at 3pm from the Place de Ploegsteert, where parking space is available in the vicinity.
Nightly Last Post Ceremony at Menin Gate – Ypres/Ieper
Notes: The Last Post is the traditional final salute to the fallen. Buglers from the Last Post Association have sounded this nightly act of homage at the Menin Gate since 1928. They have done so to honour the memory of the soldiers of the former British Empire and its allies, who died in the Ypres Salient during the First World War.
The Last Post was a bugle call played in the British Army (and in the armies of many other lands) to mark the end of the day's labours and the onset of the night's rest. In the context of the Last Post ceremony (and in the broader context of remembrance), it has come to represent a final farewell to the fallen at the end of their earthly. For more information on the Last Post Association click here.