Tuesday 26 June 2007 by Peter Burness. 3 comments
To Flanders Fields, 1917, Battles, Commemoration

While 11 April 1917 saw the launch of the first action at Bullecourt, on 9 April the larger Arras Offensive commenced.  The Arras Offensive of 1917 is often referred to as the Battle of Arras and is a significant battle honour more identified with the British Army.  This offensive does however also incorporate the smaller ‘battles’ and 'actions' of the Scarpe, of Vimy Ridge which the Canadians commemorate, and Bullecourt which Australians identify with.   (See post on battle honours – Bullecourt)

On 9 April 2007, the 90th Anniversary of Arras 1917 was commemorated on the old battlefield itself. During that evening people made a line of torches over twenty kilometres long marking the old front line from Bullecourt through Arras to Vimy. These photos of the occasion were sent to me by my friends Claude and Colette Durand.  They were taken around 8.50pm on 9 April 2007 looking towards Fontaine-les-Croisilles, just a few kilometres north of Bullecourt.

A website to commemorate the 90th Anniversary of Arras was also created http://battlefields1418.50megs.com/arras_2007.htm

90th Anniversary of the Battle Arras 1917, 9 April 2007 90th Anniversary of the Battle Arras 1917, 9 April 2007

90th Anniversary of the Battle Arras 1917, 9 April 2007 90th Anniversary of the Battle Arras 1917, 9 April 2007

90th Anniversary of the Battle Arras 1917, 9 April 2007 90th Anniversary of the Battle Arras 1917, 9 April 2007

Comments

Daniel Mcintosh

The torchlight would have been very stirring, i wish to have witnessed it. I wonder what the demographic of the torchbearers was composed of? at times it's very easy for one to feel like the only western front/ AIF nerd in one's generation - (under 30).

Mark Edwards

My Grandfather's brother was lost at Passchendaele. He was reported missing in action - believed killed. After six months with nothing more heard from him his mother was sent a telegram saying 'he must be assumed dead.' Her diary that day simply says, 'My Dave gone. Oh how cruel.' In 1987 my brother, also named David, tried to find out all he could about his namesake and received a copy of army records saying the Uncle was killed in action sometime between 9 - 12 October 1917. Not only was the exact location of his death a mystery, so was the date. He is one of the many with no known grave. My family always hoped he'd be found. We still hope. Every day, at the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we remember him.

Cameron McCrae

My family and I were at the beginning of the line at the Bullecourt Memorial site on this occasion. We were guests of Mr Jean Letaille and had travelled to Bullecourt especially for the 90th anniversary. The 'flambeau' made for a real spectacle as the sun set over this most evocative of battlefields.