Inturf supplies Australian WWI memorial landscaping project in the Somme

Turf from Yorkshire has been chosen for a major landscaping project at the Australian Memorial on the Somme in time for Anzac Day, the day Australians and New Zealanders remember war dead from all conflicts.

York firm In Turf has supplied the project with cultivated turf at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site 1o miles east of Amiens.

The memorial commemorates 10,762 fallen Australian soliders who took part in the fighting in France and Belgium during World War I and especially those who have no known grave.

Inturf joint managing director Alex Edwards said: "We’re very proud of our connection with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The turf supplied was from our main production, the grade selected being hard wearing enough to cope with the numbers of visitors the memorial attracts, but at the same time aesthetically pleasing in keeping with the wonderful atmosphere created by the staff of the Commission.

"There are technical issues associated with supplying turf at such distance so the 4,500 sqm were delivered in refrigerated lorries to ensure that it was field-fresh when it reached the site."

Because of the scale of the job the CWGC chose to buy the turf in big rolls. Horticultural supervisor Julian Blake said the rolls were more efficient:

"Our staff were very pleased with how easy to handle these rolls were and this has helped us to meet this very special deadline. The staff at Inturf gave professional support from order to delivery and the whole team are proud of the finished result."
Villers-Bretonneux became famous in 1918, when the German advance on Amiens ended in the capture of the village by their tanks and infantry on April 23. On the following day, the 4th and 5th Australian Divisions, with units of the 8th and 18th Divisions, recaptured the whole of the village and on 8 August 1918, the 2nd and 5th Australian Divisions advanced from its eastern outskirts in the Battle of Amiens.

The Australian servicemen named in its register died in the battlefields of the Somme, Arras, the German advance of 1918 and the Advance to Victory. The memorial stands within Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, which was made after the Armistice when graves were brought in from other burial grounds in the area and from the battlefields.

Both the cemetery and memorial were designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens. The memorial was unveiled by King George VI on 22 July 1938.

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