The efforts by wind power outfits to desecrate the battlefield graves of thousands who died in France are nothing short of outrageous.
Quite rightly, historians and the relatives and descendants of those who died fighting to protect French lives and liberty are furious as a French wind power outfit literally rips up a battlefield and the final resting place for thousands of men who made the supreme sacrifice. This latest outrage follows several other proposals to do precisely the same across the battlefields of northern France. This time the target is Australia’s most sacred ground: Villers-Bretonneux.
Wind farm plan for ‘sacred’ site
2 May 2021
The Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux, where thousands of Diggers lie buried, will soon have a giant wind farm as a backdrop.
Every classroom in the local school carries the message: “N’oublions jamais l’Australie” – never forget Australia – for our role in saving the town but a French appeals court still decided it was a great idea to plonk eight 156m-high turbines overlooking our war dead.
The memorial, engraved with the names of 10,719 Australian soldiers who died in France in World War I and have no known grave, was the chief reason local officials rejected the wind farm proposal in 2017.
The turbines will be built on a ridge about 4.5km from Hamel, where 800 Diggers died in a pivotal battle, and about 6km from the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux.
The French court accepted the giant turbines will be visible from the Au Australian National Memorial but claimed they would not “undermine the character” of the most important marker of our n nation’s immense sacrifice on the Western Front.
Former prime minister Tony Abbott has appealed directly to French President Emmanuel Macron, asking him to step in and permanently halt the wind farm’s construction.
“These are sacred sites and as far as possible should be left as they are, rather than scarred,” Mr Abbott told The Sunday Telegraph.
“We all have to live and generate power but wind turbines on battlefields – particularly battlefields sacred to the memories of 46,000 Australians who died defending France in the Great War – is just a desecration.”
In a letter to Mr Macron, Mr Abbott has asked the French President to intervene because “the souls of the dead deserve to rest in peace”.
“Not only was Villers-Bretonneux a decisive battle to defeat the last big German push; but so many momentous places are close by, such as the Somme Valley; and Le Hamel, where General Sir John Monash first masterminded the all-arms warfare that subsequently liberated France after August 1918,” Mr Abbott said in the letter to Mr Macron.
Mr Abbott has long railed against wind turbines, describing them as “dark, satanic mills of the modern era”, but told Mr Macron his objections were not based on opposition to renewable energy.
“I’m all in favour of optimising renewable power but not when it means that sites that should be as tranquil and as original as possible are dominated by the wind turbines that were alien to the soil of France at that time,” he said.
“The turbine installation has been opposed by local people as surveyed, by all the local councils, by the Somme departmental council, by the local prefect, and by the administrative tribunal of Amiens but – remarkably – approved by the Douai court of appeal.”
The Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux: dedicated to the memory of the 11,000 AIF men who fell in France and who have no known grave.
When the guns fell silent all across the Western Front on 11 November 1918, thoughts naturally turned to the 10 million combatants who had perished in what was meant to be the war to end all wars.
Of those who were killed in action, countless thousands remain buried where they fought and fell over a century ago.
STT’s grandfathers served with the AIF in Belgium and France, and were there when the Armistice took effect. One of them, who had won a Military Medal for conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty, described how every house and vehicle flew Allied flags and how the French went wild with delight, in Paris and all across France that day.
The killing and bloodshed had stopped; battered, broken and bruised these Australian boys were going home. But tens of thousands of those who left Australia’s sunny shores would never see their homeland again.
Consider a country, remote from the rest of the world, barely a “Nation”, with a little over 4 million people, largely clinging to the south-eastern cities and coasts of its wide brown land, that saw some 420,000 men, from all over it, and from all walks of life – farmers, bankers, lawyers, doctors, teachers, Aboriginal stockmen, and everything in between – enlist for service in the First World War; representing 38.7 per cent of the male population aged between 18 and 44. The whole country missed them all at the time; and far too many of them were missed forever after.
Of that number, some 330,000 joined the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) and saw action overseas: at Gallipoli, in the Middle East, Belgium and France.
In France, the AIF often saw the thickest of the fighting; took the most ground, artillery and prisoners; and suffered more than their fair share of casualties: by 1918, Lieut.-General Sir John Monash had honed his skills as a commander, and those of his troops, to be without equal.
Of the more than 295,000 members of the AIF who served in France and Belgium – at places like Fromelles, the Somme, Bullecourt, Messines, Passchendaele and Villers-Bretonneux – over 46,000 lost their lives, and 132,000 were wounded. Of those who were killed in action, some 11,000 have no known grave.
For Australians, that ground is our most hallowed. The contribution made by these men was Second to None: in valour, life and limb.
In the fearless recapture of towns like Villers-Bretonneux – an action involving a counter-attack at night, without artillery support – described by those that witnessed it as “the Most Brilliant Feat of Arms in the War” – the AIF earned the enduring respect of an embattled French people who, as the sign above the playground in their school declares, will never forget what was done by so many fine young men, so far from home.
That battle was fought on 25 April ie Anzac Day – a fact not lost on the AIF men who lined up in the dark that night outside the village which had been captured and all but destroyed by the Germans. The scene is described poignantly in Ross McMullin’s Pompey Elliott (Scribe 2008). Pompey Elliot was a bullish but brilliant Brigade commander, whose exuberant character instilled endless drive and valour in his men:
It was a complicated manoeuvre, especially in the dark, but Pompey’s men hurried forward to make up for lost time. They were ‘tugging and straining at the leash’, Scanlan noted. Keeping direction in the misty blackness was relatively straightforward, particularly for the 59th companies on the right, thanks to the blazing buildings in Villers-Brettoneux which had been set alight by ancillary shellfire. Silent and resolute, Pompey Elliott’s soldiers proceeded up the slope, taut with anticipation, excitement, and dread. Who would be the unlucky ones this time? Their splendid morale and determination were reinforced by the realisation that it was the third anniversary of the original Anzac Day, and they had an opportunity to commemorate it with a special exploit. The sporadic shellfire and obstructive wire they encountered on their way forward did not deter them. They pressed on until they reached the first objective, where there was a brief pause while the leaders checked positioning and direction. …
German flares went up; one landed near moving Australians and kept burning. They stopped still as one – a tribute to their training and discipline – but a machine-gun just ahead opened up erratically. In response Young gave, ‘in a calm, easy voice’ (according to a nearby sergeant), the order to charge.
With all the pent-up nervous energy that had accumulated during this long, suspense-filled day unleashed at last, Pompey’s men sprang forward with a wild, terrifying yell. ‘That ended any further attempt at checking direction’, observed Scanlan, who described the raw spontaneous roar by his men as ‘sufficient to make the enemy’s blood run cold’. The whole line responded, the intimidating cry being taken up by the 57th men along with the 59th and the 60th to the north. They all surged forward with an exhilarating, irresistible momentum. There was a desperate hail of machine-gun and rifle fire from the Germans, but the roar alarmed them, and their shooting was generally inaccurate. Most of them were caught by surprise and overwhelmed.
An English officer, who witnessed the work done by the Australians, Neville Lyton wrote:
the importance of Villers-Brettoneux cannot be over-estimated…. The Australians made a counter-attack at night which was completely successful … one of the most outstanding manoeuvres of the war. … the battlefield discipline of the Australians must be absolutely perfect, no matter what their billet discipline may be… Even if the Australians had achieved nothing else during this war but the recapture of Villers-Brettoneux, they would have won the right to be considered among the greatest fighting races of the world.
Little wonder that Australians hold sacred what was done for Villers-Brettoneux and little wonder that its people hold Australians in such high esteem a Century on. And rightly so.
Not only did Australian Diggers save many a French Town and Village, as they waited for the scarce shipping needed to bring them home after the Armistice on 11 November 1918, many remained in France and helped to rebuild their schools; and, on their return, rallied and raised funds back home to help with that fine and noble task.
The deep ancestral connection between many Australians and those who fought to save the French, and who endured indescribable suffering in doing so, brings with it a mixture of pride in the sacrifices made, and a sense of collective grief for the tragic loss of so many promising young lives; lives of precisely the kind needed to fulfill the hopes of a young Nation.
Nothing the wind industry does shocks or surprises STT. These people know no bounds, moral decency or shame. This latest outrage is just another example of their callous disregard for their human victims; whether trying to live peaceful prosperous lives; or, having made the supreme sacrifice, to rest in peace. Their ancestors will never forget, nor will they ever forgive the French wind industry for desecrating their graves and the legacy of those who paid the supreme sacrifice, for liberty and peace for all.
via STOP THESE THINGS
May 8, 2021 by stopthesethings