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Remembered Today:

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At least!

The Australian soldiers who were killed in the explosion of Bapaume town hall in 1917 with two frenh deputies are now commemorated with a memorial plaque and a roll of honour.

the tourist board of Bapaume initiated this project about two years ago. we hope we will find more relatives in the futur

regards

post-4199-0-25201800-1301221723.jpg

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A very nice tribute. Another place for me to visit on my next tour. Any chance of a close up image of the detail or perhaps a transcription?

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Thankyou Phillipe...much appreciated.

Rgds

Tim D

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Peter and Ellen

Well done Philippe.

Had a female tour guest out with me about two years ago and she asked to be taken to the front door of the Bapaume Town Hall.

She told me that she had found in her grandfather's diary that he was standing close by to the Town Hall when the explosion went off. It was some of his friends that had volunteered to help and were killed.

It was said that he heard a massive "whump" and knew instantly what had happened. They raced in only to find that they were all dead.

Regards, Peter

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Thank you for the information Philippe. Very fine that they be remembered. :poppy:

Jim

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Thank you Philippe for all the work you and the tourist board have done in honouring these men.

I too would appreciate a close-up view of the plaque & honour roll (or a transcription) if possible.

From memory your researchers had found 19 Australian soldiers who were killed (an AWM article states 25 killed)

I had found 15 last time I looked at this.

To add to the story:

The Argus, Sat 14 Oct 1922

PERSONAL

Mr P.W. Wagstaff, a Bendigo mine manager, who was captain of a company of engineers in the war, has received a medal and certificate, awarded by the Republic of France, for bravery and devotion to duty. Captain Wagstaff, who was in charge of engineers engaged in clearing up the ruins of the Bapaume Town Hall, rescued several French deputies who were buried in the debris when the building was blown up.

Capt Percy William Wagstaff's service record: http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/scripts/Imagine.asp?B=11602909

p.40 CONGRATULATORY:

“The Army Corps Commander wishes to express his appreciation of the conduct of Captain P.W. Wagstaff, 2nd Tunnelling Company, attached 2nd Divisional Engineers for the following excellent work which has been brought to his notice by the French Mission.

As the result of a recent explosion two French Deputies and some soldiers were buried. Captain Wagstaff at his own personal risk, and under most difficult circumstances, directed the work of rescue day and night, with the result that some of the soldiers were rescued alive, and the bodies of the Deputies were recovered.”

Lest we forget :poppy:

Frev

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Peter and Ellen

The following Press Release has just been issued to the Australian media.

AUSTRALIAN WWI SOLDIERS TO BE HONOURED IN FRANCE

Today in France a plaque dedicated to the Australian soldiers who were killed in Bapaume in the First World War will be unveiled.

On the night of 25 March 1917, the Town Hall of Bapaume was destroyed by a bomb left by the retreating occupying German forces. About 30 men were sleeping in the building at the time. Twenty-five men were killed in the explosion – 19 of them were Australians.

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, said he was pleased the Australian Government was able to contribute €1000 (A$1420) to the installation of the plaque through the Overseas Privately-Constructed Memorials Restoration Program.

“The unveiling of this plaque in Bapaume is a tribute to the fine Australian soldiers who lost their lives that night in 1917. The plaque will be affixed to the outside of the new Town Hall, where there is also a tribute to two French parliamentarians who were killed in the same explosion.”

Mr Snowdon said he was touched by the ongoing affection the people of France have for Australians, as demonstrated by this tribute.

“The Australians who fought with the Allies along the Western Front in the First World War created a strong impression on the local people and Australia continues to enjoy the support of many communities. An example of this is the school in Fromelles called ‘Ecole des Cobbers’ whose emblem is a kangaroo.

“In the lead-up to Anzac Day – a time of importance to all Australians – it’s important to remember our Allies in the First World War, many of whom also mark Anzac Day. In France, Anzac Day is commemorated with a full day of services including a dawn service at Villers-Bretonneux, which is only 50 kilometres from Bapaume,” Mr Snowdon said.

The Overseas Memorials Restoration Program also recently contributed funds to improve Second World War memorials in Indonesia and Malaysia.

A grant of A$2,400 was made to clean, paint and reseal plaques on the Tarakan War Memorial that commemorates the Tarakan campaign in Indonesia. A further A$7,520 funded a new fence around the commemorative area of the Last Camp Memorial in Malaysia, which is believed to be the last camp site of the survivors of the Sandakan-Ranau Death Marches.

More information about Anzac Day commemorations and Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ grants is available from the website: www.dva.gov.au

Regards, Peter

LEST WE FORGET

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this is a great information for me

we hold the files (AWM) at the tourist board of Bapaume which proves that all the soldiers on the plaque died in the explosion in the town hall.

we would of course add a addenda if there would be new names but i think the list in complete.

Also because it would be almost impossible to find if some soldiers outside the building could been wounded and died days later from the concequences of the explosion.

the memorial plaque has been dedicated to wounded and the soldiers who died.

i will post a closer photo or give the link to access them.

i was proud to acheive this project as it wasn't fair to commemorate the two deputies and forget all the others who died with them.

kind regards

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Thank you Philippe,

Len

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Peter and Ellen

Yes, I agree.

Philippe, a very sincere thank you from all of us.

I visited Bapaume yesterday and viewed the plaques.

Regards, Peter

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  • 2 months later...

hi guys

here is the link to the slideshow i made from all the photos i collected

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Thanks for sharing your photos Philippe - it looks like it was a very special day.

Cheers, Frev

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  • 9 years later...
Kelly Slater

My great uncle was killed in this explosion.  Thank you for your efforts

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