McConnel, James & Peter Stanley: Australia fights Britain over Fromelles

McConnel, James & Peter Stanley

Fromelles: Australia picks a fresh fight with Britain over a 100-year-old battle‘, The Conversation, 10 February 2016

Riffs off Australian officials’ decision to exclude the families of British soldiers from attending the Fromelles commemoration in July. The authors describe the policy as ‘an example of the danger of linking your national identity too closely to your military history’.

The authors point out that many of the ‘Australian’ casualties at Fromelles were British-born, not to mention the British Army casualties in the battle. ‘Australia’s nationalist myth is so powerful that it has now reportedly resulted in Australian officials disdaining the families of the British dead of Fromelles. They have done what the Kaiser’s propaganda could not.’

The (very detailed) Australian Government arrangements for the Fromelles and Pozieres commemorations are set out here. ‘The purpose of the Commemorative Services is to acknowledge the sacrifice of all Australian men and women who have served in all wars, conflicts and peace operations by commemorating the centenary of the First World War.’

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