Battle of Fromelles Commemoration – 2023

The annual Commemoration of the Battle of Fromelles was held yesterday (Wednesday 19th July 2023). Executive Member of the 31st Infantry Battalion Association (Brisbane Branch) Mick James describes the Commemorative event held on the lawn at the RSL in Nicholas Street Ipswich.

Wednesday 19th July 2023, the 31stInfantry Battalion Assoc (Brisbane Branch) conducted a Commemoration on the 107th Anniversary of the Battle of Fromelles, in partnership with the Ipswich RSL sub branch. This year the Commemoration was held at the Honour Stone adjacent to the Ipswich RSL Memorial Hall at 63 Nicholas St Ipswich.

The Commemoration was hosted by Mr Paul Rogers, President of the Ipswich RSL sub branch & Mr Greg Stokie , President of the 31st Infantry Battalion Assoc in Townsville. Unfortunately our Brisbane President, Mr Ray Fogg, was unable to attend due to illness.

Distinguished Guests were Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO, Brigadier Arran Hassell CSC, Commander of the 8th Brigade Aust Army, M Alain Etchegaray, Honaire Consul representing the French Ambassador to Australia, Ms Teresa Harding, Mayor of Ipswich, Group Captain Dennis Tan, Senior Aust Defence Force Officer RAAF Base Amberley, The Honourable Shayne Neumann MP Federal Member for Blair, Jennifer Howard MP State member for Ipswich, Jim Madden MP State member for Ipswich West.

The following relatives of diggers who fought in the Battle of Fromelles were also present and laid wreaths in memory of their relatives-
Jon & Lukas Kent, Great & Great Great nephews of Cpl ER Kent MM
Sean Kirby, Great Grandson of Sgt Cyril Kirby MM
James Danaher 3rd, Great nephew of Lt James Danaher
Mr & Mrs Graham Trimble Grandson of Edgar Williams MM

After a welcome address by Mr Greg Stokie, Padre Rev Dr Peter Woodward gave prayers followed by Address of Commemoration-

Mr Alain Etchegaray spoke of the gratitude of the French people for the Australian Diggers who sacrificed so much in the defence of France.

Brigadier Arran Hassell CSC gave a moving Address on the Battle and its disastrous aftermath.

Students from Ripley State Secondary College gave an Address on Lt George Still MC of 31stBn and his actions in the Battle. (The story of Lt George Still MC was told on this website on December 2020. (Search this website – GEORGE STILL  or alternatively from the list of Archives December 2020).

Wreaths were then laid. Then the Ode was recited followed by the Last Post by Brad Strong for the 5th year in succession.

A Minute’s Silence then the Rouse followed by the closing prayers and both the French & Australian National Anthems.

A Catafalque Party from the 26 Transport Sqn- 9 FSB RAAF Base Amberley had been mounted on the Honour Stone. It was then dismounted, and the Commemoration was then completed.

Some photos are included below. I have included a map of the Battlefield for those newer members who may not have seen it before


An additional Note from Brisbane Branch Secretary Tony Wadeson

Peter Nelson & wife Barbara had driven up from Victoria. He has Visited Fromelles France, many times & was there in 2010 at the time Dame Quentin as GG, with Prince, now King Charles III, – Officiated at the Dedication and Opening of the New Pheasant Wood Cemetery where the 250 Missing Bodies were found by Lambis Englezos AM in 2008. Thats a stirring Story –  LAMBIS ENGLEZOS (search this website – LAMBIS ENGLEZOS  – for the story of the missing 250 diggers of Fromelles)
Peter a retired Airline Pilot, is our Historian on the 31st Bn. His grandfather fought at the Battle of Fromelles. He has handed over to our local historian Mick James & to the IPSWICH RSL Archives, – 30 years of Research on 31st Bn since it was raised at Enoggera 1915. He has every Digger listed (& some Photos)  Who Died, – was Captured, & Listed Missing. Plus other Battle Info.