PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 11692

Address at the Conferring of Awards in the Order of Australia to Docteur Hubert Lelieur and Monsieur Andre Coilliot, Villers Bretonneux, France

Photo of Howard, John

Howard, John

Period of Service: 11/03/1996 to 03/12/2007

More information about Howard, John on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 28/04/2000

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 11692



On behalf of the Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia and at his request I have great pleasure in conferring awards in the Order of Australia on Docteur Hubert Lelieur and Monsieur Coilliot for the magnificent service that both of them have rendered to the cause of good relations between the people of France and the people of Australia. Their service in keeping alive the bonds between our two nations, in particular caring for the memory of those Australians who died here in France so long ago is well regarded with great affection by the Australian people.

Ladies and gentlemen in conferring this honour on these two gentlemen we do service to the bonds between our two communities and we also on this very sacred piece of French soil remember the sacrifice of so many young Australians in both World War I and World War II in the defence of France and in the defence of freedom.

From a male population of just under two and a half million, between 1914 and 1918 over four hundred Australians volunteered for service in the Great War. More than three hundred thousand of those served on the Western Front and no less than forty five thousand died in France and Flanders.

In remembering the death of so many young Australians we also of course remember that more than a million and a half Frenchmen perished defending their country against the invader. And in remembering the sacrifice of so many young men of all of the nations involved in that terrible conflict we vow as leaders and as citizens of our two societies to do all that we can both now and in the future to ensure that never again will such terrible carnage claim the lives of so many of the young men and women of our communities.

And on a personal note on this occasion I honour the service on the Western Front and here at Villers Bretonneux and surrounding districts of my own Father and Grandfather both of whom served in the first AIF.

May I, on behalf of the Australians here today extend to the Minister for Veterans Affairs in the French Government and to the people of France, to the Mayor of Villers Bretonneux and all of the other French people our thanks for the immense courtesy and friendship that they have extended to us. The bonds between our two communities are very special. We thank the French people for what they have contributed to the world. We honour the memory of all of those Australians and all others who died in the two world wars and we thank God for their contribution to mankind.


Transcript 11692