A thousand pay tribute to Hamel fighters

Miranda Forster
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AUSTRALIAN SOLDIERS BATTLE OF HAMEL

Australian and US troops fought together for the first time at Hamel on July 4, 1918

More than a thousand people have gathered at the Australian Corp Memorial in Hamel, northern France, to remember the battle fought there 100 years ago.

On July 4, 1914, a united Australian Corps supported by American infantry surprised the Germans at the village, near Amiens.

About 1200 Australians and US soldiers died, went missing or were wounded during the battle, which cemented the reputation of Australian commander General John Monash.

Germany lost about 2000 men, with many taken prisoner.

Australian Governor-General Peter Cosgrove called it "a stunning, quick and decisive victory" under Monash's "orchestrated assault".

"This was a battle of meticulous preparation, exacting strategy and well-laid plans executed to the finest detail," he told the service.

"A combination of infantry, armour, aircraft and artillery from the British and the French and the Americans - fighting on their national day - beside us for the first time in history."

The victory shored up the Allied position and was followed by a series of masterful counter-attacks against the Germans, leading to an eventual Allied victory.

The governor-general laid a wreath at the memorial, as did a number of descendants of those who died at Hamel.

Among them was Carole Miller of Yorkeys Knob in Queensland who paid tribute to her great uncles, Harry Walter Dunn and his brother John Dunn of Manly.

Harry Dunn died at Hamel on July 4 aged 22.

"It's such a privilege to be able to come and remember them," she said through tears.

"I just think it's so important to remember they lost their lives and they were such young boys."