Quentin Bryce.
Quentin Bryce. www.law.uq.edu.au

G-G remembers with pride

WITH tears welling in her eyes,  Governor-General Quentin Bryce has paid tribute to the thousands of Australian soldiers killed and wounded in one of World War I's worst battles.

Ms Bryce made an emotional visit to the former battlefields of Fromelles, in northern France, on Sunday, where 2000 Diggers died and another 3500 were wounded in a ferocious fight against the Germans in July 1916.

The town is the site of a mass grave of about 400 Australian and British soldiers which was uncovered by archaeologists in May this year.

Before donning a pair of black knee-length rubber boots to trek along a muddy path to the grave site, which lies on the edge of a thick woodland, Ms Bryce spent a few minutes sitting alone on a pew in the town's church praying.

The local mayor then escorted her to the grave site, where she listened silently as she was told the tale of those buried beneath the muddy earth before laying a wreath made of red kangaroo paw flowers.

By the time she reached the nearby Cobbers Memorial, which pays tribute to the Diggers killed while trying to retrieve the bodies of their dead mates from no-man's land, Ms Bryce had tears in her eyes. With her voice shaking, she told reporters of how proud she was of the thousands of Australians who lost their lives on the Western Front.

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