Canadian Bullecourt MemorialCanadian Bullecourt Memorial
©Canadian Bullecourt Memorial|Isabelle Pilarowski
BullecourtAustralian Memorial

Bullecourt Australian Memorial Park

On April 11, 1917, in support of the offensive launched in front of Arras and Vimy for two days, General Gough, at the head of the British 5th Army, launched an attack between Quéant and Bullecourt, a powerful link in the German defensive organization of the Hindenburg Line. Without prior artillery support, 12 tanks had to open the way for the Australian 4th Division and the British 62nd Division.

The tanks arrived late; suffering from breakdowns or caught under German fire, they were quickly put out of action. The soldiers then ran into almost intact German defenses and were forced to withdraw.


On 3 May, a second attack was ordered. The 62nd British Division went back into battle with the 2nd Australian Division, which refused any intervention by tanks. Despite artillery support and the reinforcement of the 1st and 5th Australian divisions, the second battle of Bullecourt turned out to be a tragic repetition of the first one. The Australians gained a foothold in the village but suffered 7,000 additional casualties.

The Diggers at the Hindenburg Line

A total of nearly 10,000 men of the Australian Imperial Force would be killed or wounded in these two battles of Bullecourt. In 1993, in the Australian Memorial Park at Bullecourt, a statue of an Australian soldier nicknamed the “Digger”, literally meaning “one who digs (to take cover from enemy fire)”, was unveiled to honor them.

This name recalls the precariousness of the shelters the soldiers had to make for themselves. The work of sculptor Peter Corlett, who also created the Fromelles Cobber, this soldier sports the symbols of the Australian forces: a slouch hat with the Rising Sun badge on it.

The name of this soldier is a reminder of the precariousness of the shelters the soldiers had to make.

Memory of Bullecourt

Each year, on the occasion of the ANZAC Day commemorations (around April 25), the Australian Embassy in France holds a special ceremony in Bullecourt in memory of all the Australian soldiers who disappeared during the Great War.