Fromelles was an excellent ceremony, great experience for all and the Belmont Christian College had a wonderful day topped off by a private meeting with the Governor General, Charles and Camilla. Charles spoke to each of the students and he was impressed with what they had done with their projects. After that meeting I was able to get the students into the special Cemetery where only ancestors were allowed. A bit of front and continual talking does help.
Each went to the grave of the person who they had researched and laid a wreath. On a few occasions the ancestors of the person interred was present and they then had excellent interaction with the family who were surprised at the work put together by the students. Chaplains and Priests were moving from one known grave to another to conduct a small service at the sites and on a couple of occasions the family wanted the students to remain and be part of the service. A huge day for all.
Our other two coaches were the first to arrive at the site and the arrangements were extensive but poorly planned as the right hand did not know what the left hand was supposed to do. There was yet another last minute plan for the coach drop off and pick-up. There was no seating as at Villers-Bretonneux and it was out in the open where people had to stand in a paddock. Very hot and tiring. The ancestor group finally gained access to their special Area around 11:30. They had seating but yet again it was in the open.
The service itself was well done and all the soldiers taking part should be congratulated. Toilets were in abundance and there were places to buy water and eats.
I believe that now as we have this special cemetery here in Fromelles, they will be many more people coming here as there is something major to see.
Tomorrow, the BCC head to Paris and home and our other two coaches come back up here to Ieper to take in these battlefields.
Colonel Graham Fleeton