RSL & Services Clubs Association

The Tour

For many years, RSL & Services Clubs Association and the Australian War Memorial have enjoyed a warm relationship. They share
a common objective of commemorating the service and sacrifice of Australians in war and helping communities today understand
our country’s experience of war. Both organisations are playing a leading role in the nation’s commemoration of the centenary of
the First World War.

To Flanders Fields, 1917 is the second in a series of three exhibitions that will be on display during the Centenary of Anzac from the 1st March until 28th November 2017 at Member Clubs.

To Flanders Fields, 1917, looks at the third year of the Great War, which proved to be the worst Australian troops ever experienced; more troops died in battle in that year than in any other. Massive offensives were fought for moderate gains, while the scale of the killing rose to a further level of horror.

More Australians were killed on the Western Front in the First World War than in any other theatre of war. The Flanders region of Belgium saw some of the bloodiest fighting of the war, including events which would eventually turn the tide in favour of the allies. With the battles at Messines, Ypres, and Passchendaele in Belgium, and at Bullecourt in France, 1917 was a pivotal turning point for Australia and the world.

Australian troops suffered heavily in mighty battles at Bullecourt, in France, and at Messines and in the third battle of Ypres, in Belgium. In the final quarter of the year, all five Australian divisions were serving together for the first time, with some attacking side by side.

This became a terrible period: over eight weeks, between September and early November, on the battlefields leading up to Passchendaele, Australia lost 38,000 men killed, wounded, or maimed. The year finally ended, much as it had begun, with the main armies bogged in the muddy trenches of France and Belgium.

“To Flanders fields, 1917 is an Australian War Memorial travelling exhibition containing original collection items, photography, maps, art, and first-hand accounts from the archives to tell the story of this pivotal year of the First World War.

Click here to find out when the Exhibition will be near you.