St Anne`s Villers Bretonneux Cross (Replica) Print Page Print this page

The Villers Brettoneux Cross is an exact replica of the original Cross which was placed in St Anne's on the 11th November 1934 and then transferred to St George's Cathedral Perth, in 1956. It commemorates the members of the 51st Battalion AIF who made the supreme sacrifice in the Great War of 1914-1918. 

The original cross was erected in Pozieres and marked the area where 4 officers and 132 non-commissioned officers and men of the battalion were killed.  In compensation for the loss of the cross, a replica was commissioned by the Department of the Army, and built by Mr. Cleve Parker of Killara, in Sydney. This cross was installed in the place occupied by the original cross on the interior wall of St. Anne’s church with a brass plaque placed underneath. 

The 51st Battalion was originally raised in Egypt in early 1916 as part of the reorganisation and expansion of the AIF following the Gallipoli campaign. 

On the morning of 24/25 April 1918, the battalion took part in an Allied counter-attack at Villers-Bretonneux, in Belgium, where they suffered 389 men killed in two days of fighting. Following this, the 51st Battalion took part in the last major Allied offensive of the war—the Hundred Days Offensive—between August and September 1918. 

After the battle ended, there were five crosses erected in the military cemetery at Villers Bretonneux, one representing the headquarters staff that died in the battle and the other four crosses representing the deceased soldiers of the battalions which had taken part in the conflict. The 51st Battalion suffered most casualties in the encounter, and of the 1000 men in the Battalion, 362 either lost their lives or were severely wounded. Of the 5 crosses originally erected in 1918, only 2 remained when they were removed from the cemetery in 1933. One was installed in St. Anne’s Ryde and the other, dedicated to the 50th Battalion, which came from South Australia, was placed in the South Australian War Memorial

The memorial cross of the 51st Battalion, A.I.F., which was unveiled in St. Anne's Church, Ryde, on Sunday, had originally been erected on the battlefield of Pozieres. It had marked the area in which four officers and 132 non-commissioned officers and men at the battalion were killed, and nine officers and 244 other ranks were wounded.
Sydney Morning Herald (NSW), 13 November 1934.



Address:44-46 Church Street,, St Anne`s Anglican Church, Ryde, 2112
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.815534
Long: 151.104158
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Cross
Monument Theme:Conflict
Monument Designer:Mr Cleve Parker (replica)


Front Inscription
The original cross of which this cross is a replica, was erected on the battlefield at Villers Bretonneux, France in 1918, and dedicated in St. Anne’s church, Ryde on Armistice Day 1934 to the members of the 51st Battalion AIF who made the supreme sacrifice during the Great War, 1914-1918. Because the 51st Battalion was mainly a Western Australian unit, the original cross was transferred to St. George’s Cathedral. Perth, W.A. in 1956 by mutual agreement of the parishioners of this church and the 51st Battalion Association.
Source: MA, NRWM
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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