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Veterans “absolutely floored” by Australian government decision to move Villers-Bretonneux dawn service

Veterans say they are ‘floored’ by an Australian government decision to move the ANZAC Day dawn service at Villers-Bretonneux to 10am.

Vietnam veteran and Director of the Spirit of Remembrance battlefield tours in the UK, Graeme Archer, described the decision as a “morning tea service”.

“We were just absolutely floored,” Mr Archer said.

“We got this email this morning from a person at DVA and it says, ‘On behalf of the Department of Veterans Affairs I wish to advise there will be a change to the timing for the ANZAC Day service at the Australian National Memorial in Villers-Bretonneux. Following the completion of the centenary commemoration 2014-2018 and consultation with local government representatives from the towns of Villers-Bretonneux, Corbie and Fouilloy, the Australian government has agreed to revert back to a 10am start time.’

“It’s a dawn service for God’s sake!

“This is our national heritage!”

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Mr Archer says the service at Villers-Bretonneux has been held at dawn since 2008.

“Any dawn service is emotional. It’s dawn, it’s special,” Neil said.