German western advance was halted here in March 1918 by the British.
Australian troops were rushed to the area and heavy fighting ensued in
the town and nearby woods for the next month. The Germans attacked in
force on 24 April but were defeated by the Australians who retook
Villers-Bretonneux on 27 April thereby saving Amiens.
Further attacks were made on the Germans in this region during June and
July, one of these being the successful 4 July attack by Australian and
American troops on Hamel to the north. The major allied offensive was
launched on 8 august. Canadians and Australians spearheaded the British
attack from positions close to Villers-Bretonneux. At the same time, 20
kilometres to the south around Montdidier, the French completely
overwhelmed the Germans. The allies won a great victory along 50
kilometres of front marking a major turning point in the war.
Villers-Bretonneux was substantially destroyed during the war. In
rebuilding, the townspeople have never forgotten the Australian
soldiers. The battle has great significance in Australian history.
Because of this the memorial, which stands in the military cemetery on
the edge of this town, is Australia's principal First World War
The association between Villers-Bretonneux and Australia has both
endured and developed since the war. In 1923 the primary school was
rebuilt by donations from Victorian school children; the twinning of
Villers-Bretonneux with Robinvale (Victoria) took place in 1984 and
every April the town holds Australian "Anzac Day"