Remember Me: the lost diggers of Vignacourt officially opened

Almost 100 photographs of soldiers from World War I have adorned the walls of the Cowra Regional Art Gallery as a part of the touring exhibition, “Remember Me: the lost diggers of Vignacourt”. 

The showcase, part of the Australian War Memorial’s traveling exhibitions program, was officially opened on Friday night at the gallery. 

Cowra Mayor, Councillor Bill West, welcomed everyone to the opening and stressed the importance of Australian troops’ role in conflicts on the Western Front during WWI. 

“It's a wonderful collection and it’s a constant reminder if you like, when you walk around, of the history and heritage we have in Australia because of that war to end all wars,” Cr West said. 

“When we think of WW1, we have the ethos of the Australians, Gallipoli and the spirit of ANZAC, we tend to forget about the Western Front and the significant sacrifices made on the western front. 

“This particular exhibition really does remind us of all the things our forebears have done and the things we have benefited from.” 

The photographs are from the Louis and Antoinette Thuillier Collection and depicts Australian, British, French, US and Indian soldiers, Chinese Labour Crops and also French civilians. 

The exhibition was officially opened by Major General Brian Dawson AM. 

“They were rediscovered in 2011 after sitting undisturbed for nearly a century in the attic of a farmhouse in the French village of Vignacourt, which was a major strategic, communications and railway junction during the first World War,” he said. 

“These photographs were taken by an enterprising husband and wife team, Louis and Antoinette Thuillier, who had set up a makeshift studio in their stable yard just off the main street of the village.” 

More than 800 of the glass negatives found were donated to the Australian War Memorial by Kerry Stokes. 

“All the photographic images have been hand printed from the glass plates negatives using traditional dark room techniques by the staff at the Memorial,” Major General Dawson said.

“Using this process, we can see the richness and the detail that is contained in nearly 100 year old negatives.”

While many of the men in the photographs are unknown, around 150 people have been identified in the photographs since their discovery. 

The exhibition runs from July 21, 2018 until September 2, 2018.