Australians and the residents of Villers-Bretonneux forged an inadvertent relationship following the many historical engagements of the First World War, that the Western Front of France reluctantly played theatre to.
This bond was made late in the First World War, where VB became heavily involved in 1918. The German advance on Amiens ended with the capture of the nearby village of VB, cutting the supply of a major north-south rail line. The successful capture occurred on a second attempt by the Germans and succeed on the 24th of April.
Within hours of the towns capture two Australian brigades were rushed onto the front lines to recapture VB. The battle played out overnight and by dawn of April 25th the Germans began evacuating. The threat to Amiens was over but Australian casualties amassed to more than 2400.
There are 10,738 Australian Serviceman officially commemorated by the Villers-Bretonneux War Memorial and named within the register.
The turmoil experienced during the First World War continued to strengthen companionship between the two nations. A lasting show of respect is displayed in the VB Victoria School where a sign reads ‘Do Not Forget Australia’.
The Victoria School was constructed in 1923-1927 as a gift from the children of Victoria, Australia as a sign of gratitude and respect to those whose served on the Western Front and the immense relationship between the town of VB and Australia forged during those tumultuous years.
On the 23rd of April 2016 a dedicated group of Australian and French, men and women will be gracing the hallowed turf of Villers-Bretonneux, They will take part in an Australian Rules Football match to commemorate the lifelong bond between the two nations. This year will be the 8th Annual ANZAC Spirit Game. It what has fast become a great show camaraderie and mateship between the two nations, further solidifying the long history we both share.