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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

26 September 2016

Anniversary of the Battle of Polygon Wood

Australia honours the service and sacrifice of those who fought in the Battle of Polygon Wood on the 99th anniversary today.

Almost 6,000 Australians from the Australian Imperial Force 4th and 5th Divisions were killed or wounded in the battle fought near Ypres in Belgium during the First World War.

The attack on Polygon Wood was the 5th Division’s first major battle since Fromelles in July 1916, and the first time in the First World War two Australian Divisions fought side by side.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan said we must never forget the sacrifice of every Australian who has served in our armed forces and the sacrifice of those who serve today.

“On the anniversary of Polygon Wood, we should reflect on the experiences of the soldiers who fought in that battle so far from home and particularly those who paid the ultimate price,” Mr Tehan said.

“The Australians captured the Butte at Polygon Wood – a fortified mound – upon which veterans of the battle later chose to erect the 5th Division Memorial, which is the memorial that today commemorates that division’s sacrifice on the Western Front.

“I am pleased to announce the Australian Government, with the assistance of the Belgium Government, will hold a Dawn Service to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Polygon Wood next year. This service will commemorate the centenary of many of the 1917 battles in this region, and will be held at Buttes New British Cemetery at Polygon Wood.”

Further information about the 100th anniversary commemorations is available at: www.anzaccentenary.gov.au

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.