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ANZAC Graffiti Found In French "Cave City"

Discussion in 'Military History' started by GRW, Apr 22, 2018.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

    Oct 26, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Stirling, Scotland
    "A heavy wooden door opens onto a long flight of steps leading deep underground.
    It is dark and cool in this large network of man-made tunnels, and we wrap scarves around our necks.
    Tiny bats hug their wings close to their bodies and hang tight to the cave's roof.
    Archaeologist Gilles Prilaux swings his torchlight onto the limestone walls and exclaims excitedly: "This is where the story starts."
    These caves, underneath the rustic village of Naours, in northern France, are a part of Australia's military history.
    In a vast network of chambers and tunnels, some of them dating back to the Middle Ages, are the preserved signatures of hundreds of Australian soldiers who left their mark here during World War I.
    The Naours caves stretch for kilometres and are about 30 metres below ground. Hundreds of years ago they were used by local villagers to store their goods or hide from invaders.
    At one point 3,000 people lived in this underground city, building their own chapels, bakeries and stables. Chimneys were routed up through cottages above so no-one would know there was a population below ground.
    By the late 19th century the famous caves had become a local tourist attraction, and during World War I Australian soldiers fighting in the trenches nearby would head there for sightseeing.
    Four years ago local man Mr Prilaux was studying the caves' ancient history when he suddenly wondered what the names on the walls meant.
    "Here you can see regiment number, battalion and here you see Australia," he says, pointing to the signatures.
    He has now realised the caves contain the signatures of as many as 2,000 Australians. Some of them are quite detailed, including not only battalions, but their home addresses, even their height and weight.
    "Behind this signature I can discover a part of the life of this soldier," Mr Prilaux says.
    "I know for a lot of these soldiers it was the last 'write' of their life."
    Anzac graffiti 'from the end of the world' unearthed in French cave city
    JJWilson likes this.
  2. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

    Dec 1, 2010
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    Good week for this news...ANZAC day on Wednesday 25th April

    - "Observed on 25 April each year, Anzac Day was originally to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli against the Ottoman Empire during World War I." - Today honours all Australian military personnel past and still serving.

    Commemorations planned in Britain and France also...and, of course a large Australian presence in Turkey by all Australians:

    Beaches of Gallipoli...I think last year.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2018
    JJWilson and GRW like this.

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