Petition: Save our war graves from French windmills

Yesterday I published the third installment of the story of Tom Godfrey MC, one of our family members who served in World War One and who never returned home.

He lies somewhere in an unmarked grave near a small Belgian town called Broodseinde. The 100th anniversary of his death on the morning of one the largest battles ever fought by Australian soldiers has just passed.

The three part series authored by my father and with minor additions from myself has received little attention from this website’s readership; I knew this would be the case. It is a personal story of our family history and I published it for personal reasons.

Those personal details mean a great deal to our family, not so much to others.

However, the overall story of the campaigns in France and Belgium a century ago have a great meaning to all Australians.

That is why I was shocked yesterday. The first thing I did after hitting publish on the final piece on Tom Godfrey was check the news. And I read this in an article written by Paul Murray for The Australian:

A French company’s plans to build a wind farm on Australian war graves is the ultimate test of our national commitment to ‘‘Lest We Forget’’.

Maia Eolis wants to build its wind farm in the fields of Bullecourt in the north of France. Bullecourt was the site of two mighty and bloody battles in 1917. Australia paid a terrible price, with 10,000 casualties.

This is personal for me. Tom Godfrey fought at Bullecourt in May 1917 where he won his Military Cross.

But it should be personal for Australia too.

The 24th Battalion, of which Tom was part, lost 85% of its men in one day’s fighting in early May 1917 to liberate Bullecourt. All up, more than 13,000 Diggers were killed or wounded in the intense combat to free this small French village from German hands.

Possibly up to 2,500 of those men lie in the surrounding fields in unmarked graves.

It is an absolute insult that a century after they gave their lives for freedom, their bones will be used as the foundation for a monstrous monument to the politically-correct folly of our times.

Lest we forget indeed.

It is extremely heartening to hear that the current Mayor of Bullecourt is completely opposed to this insult. I have visited these small French villages; they have great respect for our fallen Diggers.

I also want to thank Campbell Newman for taking this issue up so strongly as well.

I ask you to sign the petition below to the Minister for Veterans Affairs, Dan Tehan, calling on him to raise this issue with the Prime Minister and to urge him to protest this plan with the French President. I did hope to have this petition go to the Prime Minister too but his email system has been set up to prevent these petitions.

So I urge you to copy the petition text and paste it into Malcolm Turnbull’s web-based contact form here and let him know your concern as well.

And if Paris is going to dump on our fallen to meet some climate change requirement, we should dump Paris and its insane climate change accord too.

As Paul Murray said so well, this is the ultimate test of our national commitment to “Lest We Forget”.

Let’s make sure we pass it. We owe it to those who gave everything for us.

Please note that due to setting I cannot change, you will need to type in the state.

Author: Bernard Gaynor

Bernard Gaynor is a married father of nine children. He has a background in military intelligence, Arabic language and culture and is an outspoken advocate of conservative and family values.

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  1. This is not going to work. Windmills and stone churches have always been part the countryside and villages of Flanders and Brittany. My Grandfather’s brother fought at Passchendaele and the windmills there were apparently of great interest among the Americans of his home state which also had many windmills and water mills built of a similar style. He said the windmills around Passchendaele took all kinds of shellfire that just pinged off ‘like nickel poppers’. I never did know whether to believe that one or not.

    When I travelled there I did believe it. There were windmills in Flanders that had stood for centuries and had obviously come through great battles. Some had graffiti – in German, French, English and dates that had been lovingly preserved by farmers and villagers.

    The beautiful windmills and carpets of poppies and meadow flowers seemed fitting memorials of the mass graves that lay on WWI and WWI battlefields beneath. Walking there in the 1970s, it was impossible to imagine that you were walking over No Man’s Land and the hell of the Western Front.

    These modern windmills are ugly, ugly, ugly icons of Climate Change PC. They decimate the birds which just fly into them, many people in the vicinity develop regular migraines from the vibration and they can send livestock completely mad. They should be outlawed everywhere and certainly not permitted to deface lands that are sacred to many nations which gave the flower of two generations of youth to fight and die there. Let them repose in peace and let the beauty of those lands be their memorial.

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