Australia and New Zealand march as guests of honour in French National Day Parade

This article has photo gallery Published on Department of Defence (author), SGT Janine Fabre (photographer)

Location(s): Paris

The Australian Defence Force contingent is preparing to march in the French National Day parade in Paris on 14 July 2016.  (photo: SGT Janine Fabre)
The Australian Defence Force contingent is preparing to march in the French National Day parade in Paris on 14 July 2016.

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) joined the New Zealand Defence Force to march with the French Armed Forces and other military contingents in the French National Day Parade, proudly leading in the ‘Position of Honour’ down the Champs-Élysées in Paris.
 
The French National Day commemorates both the Storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789, and the Fête de la Fédération which celebrated the unity of the French people on 14 July 1790.
 
The Vice Chief of the Defence Force, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, noted the great privilege for the ADF to lead the event saying it further strengthened the close and longstanding defence relationship between Australia and France.
 
“The ADF is proud and honoured to have been invited to march in the Position of Honour in the oldest and largest regular military parade in Europe,” Vice Admiral Griggs said.
 
“Not only is this event a patriotic display for the French military, it recognises current French operations and their servicemen and women’s sacrifice and service to their country in campaigns over time.
 
“For so many of those campaigns Australian servicemen and women were there, serving alongside their French counterparts during the First World War and even today on operations in the Middle East.”
 
Vice Admiral Griggs said the ADF contribution to the French National Day Parade was particularly timely as many Australians had travelled to France to commemorate the 100th anniversaries of the Battles of Fromelles and Pozieres later in the month.
 
“In a little over 24 hours from the commencement of the Battle of Fromelles on 19 July, the Australians suffered 5,500 casualties. It was the most costly day in Australia’s military history.”
 
“The Centenary of Anzac is a special time for all Australians and will be one of the most significant commemorations to take place in our lifetime. For our ADF personnel to be involved in this historic day in France, it is a further opportunity to remember and reflect upon the service and sacrifice of our past and current servicemen and women,” Vice Admiral Griggs said.
 
The 140-strong Australian contingent for the French National Day Parade consisted of 30 Navy, 80 Army and 30 Air Force members.