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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

27 March 2017

Commemorations for centenary of the Battle of Polygon Wood

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan said Australians can register to attend the 100th anniversary commemoration service for the Battle of Polygon Wood later this year.

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs Australia, with the assistance of the Government of Flanders, the municipality of Zonnebeke and the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 will hold a Dawn Service to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Polygon Wood on 26 September 2017.

Members of the public can visit https://overseascommemorations.ticketek.com.au/ to register to attend or find out more.

Polygon Wood was the first major battle for the Australian 5th Division in Belgium and resulted in 5,770 casualties.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan said victory at Polygon Wood had come at a great cost but the success laid the foundation for the 3rd Australian Division’s victory at the Battle of Broodseinde.

“The Butte is now the site of the Australian 5th Division Memorial, however many of the Australians who died at Polygon Wood have no known grave and are commemorated on the Menin Gate,” Mr Tehan said.

“The Buttes New British cemetery is the last resting place of more than 500 Australians, half of whom are not identified.

“As a nation we will honour and remember every Australian who fought at Polygon Wood.”

Zonnebeke was the centre of Australian operations in Flanders during the First World War.

Minister-President Geert Bourgeois of Flanders said: “The huge losses suffered by Australia in the Zonnebeke region during the Battle of Passchendaele make this place one that is dear to the hearts of many Australian families. Australia’s ongoing commitment to commemoration has only made the ties between Australia and Flanders stronger over recent years”.

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.