Australian Embassy
Belgium, Luxembourg and Mission to the European Union and NATO

Anzac Day 2016 in Belgium Draft Program

ANZAC Day 2016 in Belgium Draft Program

Please find below the draft ANZAC Day program in Belgium for Monday 25th April, 2016, with accompanying notes and weblinks. Please note the program is subject to change and you are advised to regularly check the Embassy's website in the lead-up to ANZAC Day. The program notes commemorations held jointly with New Zealand but its Embassy organises other commemoration services as well.

The Embassy kindly requests that all members of the public arrive and be in position at least 15 minutes prior to the commencement of each service.

Joint Australia/New Zealand Dawn Service - Polygon Wood, Zonnebeke 

Includes: Prayers, welcome addresses, call to commemoration, music, ANZAC Remembrance ANZAC Dedication, dedication of wreaths, wreath laying, Ode of Remembrance, volley by firing party, Last Post, reveille, playing of national anthems, final blessing and benediction, laying of commemorative wooden crosses on graves and participation by the Australian Defence Force Singers and Australian Federation Guard Catafalque Party.

Time: 06:00
Duration: approx. 35 minutes
Location: Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood
Address: Polygon Wood, Lange Dreve, Zonnebeke

Notes: The commune of Zonnebeke is again providing free shuttlebuses and a post-Dawn Service breakfast. The shuttle service starts at 5am at parking C Bellewaerde (Frezenbergstraat) and the breakfast at 7:30am . Members of the public attending the Dawn Service are advised to make use of this shuttle service because parking near the cemetery is very restricted. Those wishing to attend the breakfast are required to purchase on-line an e-ticket (€5).  

Polygon Wood is a large wood south of Zonnebeke which was completely devastated in the First World War. On top of the butte is the Battle Memorial of the 5th Australian Division, which captured it on 26 September 1917. The Buttes New British Cemetery is an irregular front-line cemetery established between August 1917 and April 1918, and used again in September 1918. There are 2,108 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in Buttes New British Cemetery.

 

Tyne Cot Commemoration Service - Zonnebeke

Includes: Prayers, welcome addresses, ANZAC Dedication, ANZAC Remembrance, music, wreath laying, Ode of Remembrance, volley by firing party, reveille, singing of national anthems and participation by the Australian Defence Force Singers and Australian Federation Guard Catafalque Party

Time: 09:35
Duration: approx. 30 minutes
Location: Tyne Cot Cemetery
Address: Vijfwegenstraat 1, Zonnebeke

Notes: 'Tyne Cot' or 'Tyne Cottage' was the name given by the Northumberland Fusiliers to a barn which stood near the level crossing on the Passchendaele-Broodseinde road. Five or six German blockhouses, or pill-boxes, were built around it and overlooked the surrounding countryside. As such, it was strategically important to both sides fighting in the area. The area was captured by the 3rd Australian Division and the New Zealand Division on 4 October 1917 in the advance on Passchendaele. A Cross of Sacrifice (common to CWGC cemeteries) was built on top of a German pill box in the centre of the cemetery. At is base is a memorial plaque to the 3rd Australian Division. There are 1353 Australian graves in what is the largest British and Commonwealth war cemetery in the world.

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. The memorial stands close to the farthest point in Belgium reached by Commonwealth forces in the First World War until the final advance to victory.
 

Joint Australian/New Zealand Procession and Menin Gate Service - Ieper/Ypres 

Includes: Procession to Menin Gate, welcome address, prayers, music, Last Post, Ode of Remembrance, wreath laying, reveille and singing of national anthems and participation by the Australian Defence Force Singers and Australian Federation Guard Catafalque Party.

Time: 11.10
Duration: approx. 25 minutes
Location: Ieper/Ypres Town Hall and Menin Gate
Address: Grote Markt/Meenestraat, Ieper/Ypres

Notes: In Ieper/Ypres, the Australian delegation will meet the New Zealand delegation and local officials. All will march in procession from the Cloth Hall to the Menin Gate for an ANZAC Day Service with the Last Post ceremony, and then to the Belgian War Memorial.
 

Joint A/NZ wreath laying ceremony Belgian War Memorial - Ieper/Ypres 

Includes: Procession to Belgian War Memorial, wreath laying and music
Time: 11.35
Duration: approx. 20 minutes
Location: Ieper/Ypres
Address: Behind Cloth Hall, Rijselsestraat 6, Ieper/Ypres
 

Ploegsteert Toronto Avenue Cemetery Commemoration Service - Comines-Warneton

Includes: Prayers, welcome addresses, ANZAC dedication, ANZAC Remembrance, music, wreath laying, Ode of Remembrance, volley by firing party, reveille and singing of national anthems, laying of commemorative wooden crosses on graves and participation by the Australian Defence Force Singers and Australian Federation Guard Catafalque Party.

Time: 15:30
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 officers and men of the 9th Brigade (3rd Australian Division) who died in the Battle of Messines between 7 and 10 June 1917. The cemetery was established by the Australian 3rd Division with the onset of the Battle of Messines on 7 June 1917.

Toronto Avenue is nestled in Ploegsteert Wood and is reached by walking along a rough, at times muddy, path. The public are asked to remain outside the walls of the very small cemetery for the duration of the service. There is no parking nearby and members of the public wishing to attend the commemoration service are strongly advised to make use of the free shuttle service provided by the authorities of Comines-Warneton. This shuttle service starts at 3pm from the Place de Ploegsteert, where parking space is available in the vicinity. 

 

Nightly Last Post Ceremony at Menin Gate - Ieper/Ypres 

Includes: Last Post ceremony with the Australian Defence Force Singers and Australian Federation Guard Catafalque Party particpating also.

Time: 20:00
Location: Menin Gate
Address: Meenestraat, Ypres/Ieper

Notes: The Last Post is the traditional final salute to the fallen. Buglers from the Last Post Association have sounded this nightly act of homage at the Menin Gate since 1928. They have done so to honour the memory of the soldiers of the former British Empire and its allies, who died in the Ypres Salient during the First World War.

The Last Post was a bugle call played in the British Army (and in the armies of many other lands) to mark the end of the day's labours and the onset of the night's rest. In the context of the Last Post ceremony (and in the broader context of remembrance), it has come to represent a final farewell to the fallen at the end of their earthly. For more information on the Last Post Association click here.