Memorials Of The Great War
War Memorial Of The Month - May 2018
Autralian Memorial to the Missing, Villers-Bretonneux, France
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To protect and promote the spirit and substance of the work of Sir Edwin Lutyens OM
Location: Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux, France
The Australian Memorial to the Missing of the Great War had a somewhat chequered history. Following the conclusion of hostilities the Australians decided that the most appropriate place for their memorial would be at Villers-Bretonneux, where its army under Sir John Monash played a key role in halting the German Spring Offensive in 1918.
An architectural competition was launched in December 1925, limited to Australian architects who had either served in the war or whose sons had served. It was won by William Lucas, an architect from Melbourne, who proposed a design with four massive columns on a tall plinth, that would stand at the end of a cemetery designed by Lutyens. For various reasons, including the state of the economy, work did not start and, when the matter was reconsidered in 1930s, Lutyens was appointed to prepare the design. His initial scheme was rejected due to the lack of a tower from which to survey the battlefield and his eventual design was dedicated by King George V on 22 July 1938, the last of the architect’s war memorials to be built.