On Saturday, there will be ceremonies of Remembrance throughout New England for those who fought died in the First World War and also subsequent wars.
It is a big milestone in that it’s the lead up to the centenary of the end of the “War to end all wars” but also because in 1917 there were terrible battles in which many Australians died.
The Australian Strategic Policy Insitute says 1917 was Australia’s “most stressful and costly year of the war”.
It explains why: “Australians would fight futilely at Bullecourt (twice), at the bloody but seemingly successful offensive at Messines, and in the three-month-long ordeal of the third battle of Ypres, expressed forever in the word Passchendaele, the name of the obliterated, mud-bound village where the Flanders offensive finally ended.
“By the year’s end, nearly as many Australians were to die in battle as had died in the war so far – almost 22,000. More Australians were to die in 1917 than in any year in our history, and most of them violently, and arguably for little gain. Even the successes in Palestine (at Beersheba, part of the third battle of Gaza, which brought the capture of Jerusalem) were countered by the debacles of the first two attempts to take Gaza.”