21st July 2014:
On Friday 18th July, OA staff and colleagues attended the official inauguration of la musée de la Batielle de Fromelles, a new museum dedicated to the First World War Battle of Fromelles. The ceremony included an address from Michael Ronaldson, the Australian Minister for Veterans' Affairs, and was attended by senior officials and dignitaries, descendants of soldiers who had lost their lives in the Battle of Fromelles, and locals from the Fromelles region.
The newly constructed museum is located next to the new resting place of the 250 soldiers who fought and died in the battle on 19th and 20th July 1916, and were recovered by OA in 2009. It includes exhibits of some of the artefacts that have been found on the battlefield, and documents the extraordinary joint British and Australian government mission to recover the soldiers from unmarked, mass graves, identify them by name with the help of DNA and rebury them with full military honours.
Thursday's ceremony marked the culmination of five and a half years work, most notably by the former mayor of Fromelles, Hubert Huchette, to commemorate the soldiers and the legacy of their sacrifice: a strong and lasting union between the village and Australia.