Located to the rear of the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, the Australian National Memorial honours the Australian soldiers who fought in France and Belgium. British architect Sir Edwyn Lutyens designed both the cemetery and the Memorial; the latter was unveiled by King George VI on 22 July 1938.
The Memorial commemorates 10,729 Australians who died in France during the Great War and have no known grave. By using the SJMC App, visitors can easily locate a soldier’s name on the memorial’s panels.
The loss of these men has affected all generations of Australians. For many, travelling to France and seeing the final place of commemoration of their family member with their own eyes is a unique and moving experience.
The Memorial consists of a central tower flanked by wing walls. Inside the tower, a stairway leads to a viewing platform and stone orientation table. From here, visitors can view the surrounding countryside across which Australians fought in 1918. For visitors who cannot manage the 140 steps to the top of the tower, the SJMC App offers a virtual 360 tower-top view from the ground.
During the Second World War, the Memorial was used as an observation post by the French and was extensively damaged by German aircraft and ground fire. Parts of the Memorial still display some of this scarring.