IT is critically important young people learn the lessons of sacrifice from World War I, Veterans’ Affairs Minister Darren Chester said as he launched a new app allowing people to experience the Western Front from their own home or classroom.
The Anzac 360 app, developed in partnership with News Corp, uses virtual reality technology and drone footage to explore the Remembrance Trail, which runs across the major Australian battle sites on the Western Front.
“Remembrance Day is all about respect and recognition and understanding,’’ Mr Chester said, launching the app at the Sir John Monash Centre at Villers-Bretonneux in France.
“As we reach the mark of 100 years, the centenary of Armistice, it is critically important that younger people get an appreciation of the service and sacrifice that occurred to secure the freedoms we enjoy today.
“It is critically important we make the information as accessible as we can.
“The Anzac 360 app is part of it. Also the work we do back home in Australia, the activities at the War Memorial, are also helpful to make sure the younger generation appreciate the sacrifice that occurred not just on the Western Front but right throughout World War 1 and right throughout our nation’s history.’’
Mr Chester said while Gallipoli was “forever etched in our nation’s history, it was right here on the Western Front that we suffered our greatest losses during the First World War.”
“This new app and videos, developed in partnership with News Corp Australia and produced by Grainger Films, will allow all Australians, including our next generation of schoolchildren, to experience these sites from their classroom or at home in their living room.
“Most importantly, it allows those who cannot visit these sites in person the opportunity to feel like a visitor, but at the same time inspiring others to travel over here to France, or across the border in Belgium.”
Eight key sites and battles are explained, highlighting the challenges Australian troops faced 100 years ago.
The sites are explored through 36-degree aerial footage, vision shot on the ground, merged with historic graphics and pictures.