On arrival at the site of the Australian National Memorial and Sir John Monash Centre, the journey first leads visitors through the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery. This cemetery was established after the Armistice when graves were brought in from other burial grounds in the area and from the battlefields.
It contains the graves of 2,146 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War, including 735 Australians who fought in the area in 1918. When walking through the cemetery, visitors will notice the poppies, wreaths and small wooden crosses left by many before them, and especially those who travel to France to visit the grave of a family member.
Using the free onsite Wi-Fi, visitors are invited to download the SJMC App from the App Store or Google Play. The experience begins at the entry to the cemetery, where walking through the cemetery visitors can listen to short stories about some of the soldiers buried here and understand the key features of all Commonwealth military cemeteries.
Of the men buried in the Villers-Bretonneux military cemetery, 609 are unidentified and lie under a headstone marked “A Soldier of the Great War, known unto God”.
The cemetery also contains the graves of two New Zealand airmen who were shot down during the Second World War.
All WW1 and WW2 Commonwealth cemeteries in France, including the Villers-Bretonneux cemetery, are cared for by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.