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Media releases & speeches

The Hon Dan Tehan MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC

22 July 2016

Honouring Australia’s missing soldiers at Menin Gate

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, will today lay a wreath at the Menin Gate memorial in Belgium in honour of Australian soldiers who died in the First World War.

The names of 55,000 missing soldiers, including 6,000 Australians, are recorded on the Menin Gate memorial in Ieper (Ypres). Each night at 8pm traffic is stopped at the memorial and buglers from the local Fire Brigade sound the Last Post under its arches.

Mr Tehan is in Europe for commemorative services to mark the 100th anniversary of Australian military involvement on the Western Front. He attended services for the Battle of Fromelles on Tuesday and will attend a service for the Battle of Pozières on Saturday.

Mr Tehan said more than 46,000 Australians died in France and Belgium and about 18,000 have no known grave.

“Thousands upon thousands of Australian soldiers passed through the site of the Menin Gate on their way to fight on the Western Front one hundred years ago and, sadly, so many never returned,” Mr Tehan said.

“As a nation we must keep alive the memory of every Australian who defends our values and freedoms as a reminder of the tragedy of war and a reminder of their bravery and mateship.”

Mr Tehan will also visit the construction site for the Sir John Monash Centre at the Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux.

“The Sir John Monash Centre will be a focal point for visitors seeking to understand and commemorate Australia’s service on the Western Front. It will be an important place where our stories can be told and our soldiers are remembered,” he said.

Media enquiries:

Minister Tehan’s Office: Byron Vale 0428 262 894
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.