On Friday, 98 years ago, the guns fell silent on the Western Front in France, heralding the end of the First World War.
Each year to mark the historic occasion, all Australians are asked to pause for a minute’s silence on November 11 at 11am to remember those who have served Australia in times of war and conflict.
The Spirit of the Anzac Centenary Experience exhibition will visit Bunbury from January 11-16 and Major General Brian Dawson who is also the executive director said virtually no town or hamlet in Australia was left untouched by the ‘Great War’.
“From a population of fewer than five million, 416,809 men enlisted, of whom more than 60,000 were killed and 156,000 wounded, gassed or taken prisoner,” Major General Brian Dawson said.
“That every township and hamlet in Australia has a memorial to those who served is a testament to how widely the impact of the war was felt.”
The Spirit of Anzac Centenary Experience exhibition tells the story of Australia’s involvement in the First World War and contains 200 artefacts usually housed at the Australian War Memorial, rarely seen outside the National Capital.
“There are some very moving objects on display such as a captured German Field Gun from the Western Front, recreations of the trenches on the Somme and the last shell fired at Gallipoli,” he said.
“It’s a free exhibition every Australian, young or old, should visit because it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and will help people understand what young Australians experienced about almost 100 years ago.”
The exhibition also features a large reproduction of an iconic First World War photograph, showing a young Bunbury soldier identified as William Hough on the side of the Great Pyramid in January 1915. Visitors can explore the names, ranks and fates of many pictured in the photograph.
The Armistice meant that all fighting against Germany on the Western Front and at sea ended at 11am on November 11 in 1918.
In Australia and other allied countries, including Britain, New Zealand, Canada and the United States, November 11 became known as Armistice Day – a day to remember those who lost their lives in the First World War.
After the Second World War, the Australian government agreed to the United Kingdom’s proposal that Armistice Day be renamed Remembrance Day, to commemorate those who lost their lives in both World Wars.
Now, on Remembrance Day, we continue commemorations, not only remembering those who served in the First World War, but those who have served in all conflicts and peacekeeping operations since from the Second World War to Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan to name a few.
Tragically more than 102,000 Australians have lost their lives in times of war and conflict and on Friday we pay special tribute to them and to the loved ones they left behind.
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