‘Forgetting and remembering the Anzacs in Flanders Fields‘, Overland, 26 September 2017
Discusses why the battles of Ypres (including Passchendaele) have not had a higher profile in Australian collective memory.
The third battle of Ypres did not fit easily into this celebratory narrative [built around Gallipoli and 1918]. Despite having played a leading role in the British victories at Menin Road, Polygon Wood and Broodseinde, the Anzacs’ contribution to the offensive ended in muddy, bloody defeat in front of Passchendaele. It was hardly the stuff upon which to build a bellicose national legend.
The impending 1918 flurry over the Monash museum at Villers-Bretonneux will accentuate this imbalance, although this week’s commemoration at Polygon Wood was welcome.
Haultain-Gall recently published an article comparing museum practices across the generations in relation to Australia’s wars. He was also interviewed on the ABC coverage of the centenary commemoration at Polygon Wood.