Anzac Day 2019 Program
Please find below the draft program for Anzac Day 2019 in West Flanders. It has accompanying notes and weblinks, and includes commemorations jointly held with the New Zealand Embassy in Brussels.
Anzac Day Thursday 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. On top of the butte is the Memorial to the 5th Australian Division , which captured it 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.
Tyne Cot Wreath Laying – Zonnebeke
Duration: approx. 15 minutes
Location: Tyne Cot Cemetery
Address: Vijfwegenstraat 1, Zonnebeke
Notes: A wreath laying ceremony will take place at Tyne Cot Cemetery, the largest Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery in the world. The area was strategically important in WW1 and was captured by the 3rd Australian Division and the New Zealand Division on 4 October 1917 in the advance on Passchendaele. Inside the cemetery are buried the remains of 11,956 soldiers (1,368 Australian) and its Cross of Sacrifice was built on top of a German pillbox. 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.
Joint Australian/New Zealand Procession and Menin Gate Service – Ieper/Ypres
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.
Joint Australian/New Zealand Belgian War Memorial Wreath Laying – Ieper/Ypres
Duration: approx. 5 minutes
Location: Belgian War Memorial
Address: Vandenpeerboomplein (behind Cloth Hall)
Notes: At the end of the service at Menin Gate, the Australian and New Zealand official Anzac Day parties and local dignitaries will walk in procession to the Belgian War Memorial where a wreath laying ceremony will take place.
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 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. Please check the Embassy’s website for updates, including information on accessing the cemetery.
Please note separate from the above Anzac Day Program is the Last Post Ceremony, held nightly at 8pm by the Last Post Association at Menin Gate in Ieper/Ypres.