Anzac Day 2023 Program - West Flanders, Belgium
Please find below the current order of events for Anzac Day 2023 in West Flanders. The program includes a dawn service at Buttes New British Cemetery and commemorative services at Menin Gate and Toronto Avenue Cemetery. It has accompanying notes and weblinks, and includes commemorations jointly held with the New Zealand Embassy in Brussels.
You will be able to follow the Anzac Day events across our social media channels as well. We encourage you to follow us on Facebook @AustraliainBelgium and Twitter @AustraliaEU.
Further info will be provided in due course.
Anzac Day Tuesday 25 April
Joint Australia/New Zealand Dawn Service - Polygon Wood, Zonnebeke
Duration: approx. 45 minutes
Location: Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood
Address: Polygon Wood, Lange Dreve, Zonnebeke
Notes: Buttes New British Cemetery is located in Polygon Wood, a large wood south of Zonnebeke, which was completely devastated in World War One (WW1). In the cemetery 2,108 Commonwealth soldiers are buried or commemorated including 564 Australians. The main memorial at the cemetery is located at the top of the butte and stands in honor of the soldiers of the Australian 5th Division who captured the area on 26 September 1917
Local authorities will block roads around Polygon Wood in the lead-up to Anzac Day in order to manage the limited parking around the venue. The Embassy will post information about alternative parking arrangements on our website as soon as it is available. The ceremony starts precisely at 6 am and you are asked to be in place 15 minutes before to avoid disrupting the ceremony.
Toronto Avenue Cemetery Commemoration Service - Comines-Warneton
Time: to be confirmed
Duration: approx. 45 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 soldiers from the 9th Brigade (3rd Australian Division) who died in the Battle of Messines between 7 and 10 June 1917. The cemetery is nestled in Ploegsteert Wood and accessed by a rough path and has no disabled access. Its small size means only the official party will be inside the cemetery during the commemoration service. There is no parking nearby.
Joint Australian/New Zealand Procession and Menin Gate Service – Ieper/Ypres
Time: 11:00 (tbc)
Duration: approx. 35 minutes
Location: Menin Gate
Address: Grote Markt/Meenestraat, Ieper/Ypres
Notes: In Ieper/Ypres, the Australian and New Zealand official Anzac Day parties and local dignitaries will assemble outside the municipality’s historic Cloth Hall. Together they will then walk in procession to the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial for the Anzac Day Service, which includes a Last Post ceremony. Menin Gate has inscribed on its walls the names of 54, 896 soldiers whose graves are unknown; 6,198 are Australian.
Please be aware that due to major renovation works at the Menin Gate in Ieper, there may be limited disability access to the ceremony. You can find updates on the works at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website here.