Historical information

Taken in c. 1918, this photograph depicts the ruins of the French village Villers-Bretonneux. In the foreground of the image are rows of shell damaged houses and buildings. In the background of the image stands a tower of the ruined church.


On 24 April, Villers-Bretonneux was captured by the Germans as they advanced towards the regional city of Amiens. If they achieved their goal and drove onto the French coast, splitting the British and French armies, the Allied cause might have been lost.
The fate of Amiens hung in the balance as two Australian brigades were given the task of retaking Villers-Bretonneux through a swift night-time counter attack. One brigade would assault from the south, while another would attack from the north. The assault began at 10pm on 24 April. The 13th Brigade in the south were held up by German machine guns, before the Australians linked up east of the village. After dawn on 25 April Australian and British troops were involved in fierce fighting to clear the Germans from the village. Some Germans escaped Villers-Bretonneux through nearby woods. Later on the morning of 25 April, three years to the day after the Anzacs landings at Gallipoli, French and Australian flags were raised over Villers-Bretonneux.

Physical description

Black and white rectangular reproduced photograph printed on matte photographic paper

Inscriptions & markings

(A copyright and reproduction notice from the Australian War Museum, printed upside-down in blue ink)
Church x Ruins/ Villers Bretonneux/ (in pencil)