One of Australia’s most decorated members of the Australia Defence Force, Ben Roberts-Smith VC, MG will officially launch a unique social media campaign on 18 July to commemorate the centenary of the Western Front.
July 19, 1916 marks “the worst day in Australian military history” with more than 5,500 causalities in just one dark night during the Battle of Fromelles (France), the first Western Front battle involving Australian troops.
The Western Front was arguably the most important battleground of the First World War. Australia was involved in 29 battles taking place across France and Belgium, spanning 33 months from March 1916 to November 1918.
The social media campaign by the Queensland Anzac Centenary aims to host a virtual candlelight vigil in the month of July.
To increase awareness and understanding of the significance of the Western Front in Australia’s history, people will be encouraged to share, via social media, the centenary flame. This is a video of a flickering candle featuring a soldier’s silhouette.
Campaign spokesperson Colonel Christopher Austin ADC said the Australian losses on the Western Front were staggering, with more casualties in the first six weeks than the entire eight month Gallipoli campaign.
“The Western Front is a significant part of the First World War, and a pivotal time in Australian military history.”
“The virtual candlelight vigil helps us cast a symbolic light on the Western Front, and pay tribute to those brave men who were killed, wounded or captured,” said Colonel Austin.
“We’re asking the nation to share the centenary flame by going to www.westernfront100.net and pause during July to commemorate the centenary of the Western Front.” Ben Roberts-Smith VC, MG, is supporting the campaign and lighting a centenary flame on Monday 18 July.
“This campaign provides us with an opportunity to stop, reflect, and honour these Australian men and women who made huge sacrifices during battles on the Western Front,” said Mr Roberts-Smith.