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Villers-Bretonneux (May - August, 1918)

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Villers-Bretonneux (May - August, 1918)
This lantern slide, “Villers-Bretonneux (May - August, 1918),” shows the ruins of Villers-Bretonneux, a commune in the Somme department in Picardie in northern France, after bombardment by German forces. Debris blankets the ground, and in the distance is a portion of a single wall of a church spire that withstood the destruction.
Springfield College Archives and Special Collections
Collection (local):
College Archives Digital Collections
Lantern Slide Collection
World War, 1914-1918
International Young Men's Christian Association
Lantern slides
3.25x3.25 in
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Springfield College
The damage was likely caused by the Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux. The fight began at the end of April 1918, was one of the first battles where both sides used almost exclusively tanks, and saw Germany’s biggest deployment of tanks in World War I. The successful outcome is primarily due to a counterattack by the 4th and 5th Division of the AIF, which cost over twelve hundred Australian lives. As such, the Australian War Memorial in France is located just outside Villers-Bretonneux. Furthermore, the town’s school was rebuilt through donations from school children of Victoria, and above every blackboard is the inscription "N'oublions jamais l'Australie" (Let us never forget Australia). Subsequent fighting in the area continued until August 8, 1918, when the allies pushed further east; the prolonged combat and consequent danger would explain why the picture is dated roughly three months after the end of the Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux. This slide is part of a series depictin
Slide shows some foxing; Text on border reads, "Villers Brettoneaux May - Aug 1918. During bombardment; Australian Y.M.C.A Historical Record Section."
Part of the Australian Y.M.C.A. WWI Lantern Slide Series