RED POPPIES: Some 5000 crochet red poppies were placed at Fromelles near Australian Memorial Park and VC Corner cemetery. Pictures: Supplied
Nanjing Night Net

Tears rolled down Lauren Berwick’s cheeks as the Mount Warrigal teenagerthought of the thousands of Australianswho lost their lives in battle in World War I.

BATTLE READY: The Western Front commemoration tour allowed participants the opportunity to walk the ground where Australians sacrificed so much.

The 15-year-old was overcome with emotion when she joined her Western Front commemoration tour group in Poziers.

AMAZING EXPERIENCE: Lauren Berwick (blonde hair) with fellow NSW Premier’s Anzac Memorial Scholarship members Hunter Davidson and Isabel Gahan.

Shepaid tribute to the Australian soldiers who fought and died in the town 100 years earlier.

Back home in Australia Jackie Berwick was also crying because she fearedher daughter Lauren was caught up in the Bastille Day truck terror attack in Nice, France.

But her fears were soon allayed when informed the plane carrying the NSW Premier’s Anzac Memorial Scholarship 2016 Tour party was still in transit and had yet to arrive in France.

‘’It was a scary experience. Mum was crying but then she realised we were still in the air when it actually happened. We arrived the day after Bastille Day,’’ Lauren said.

‘’Considering what had just happened it wasn’t as high security as I thought it would be but in saying that there were police officers walking around with rifles.’’

Lauren said the tour itself, which included stops in Ypres in Lille, Fromelles, the Somme and Poziers, was ‘’amazing’’.

‘’We mainly visited a lot of different Commonwealth war memorials which are scattered all around the Belgium and France border,’’ she said.‘’Going to all the different war graves, you see how many people actually died. You hear the history lesson and they talk about it but then you go there and you see how many people have died from this war and it’s just crazy. Imean one cemetery had over 11,000 graves.’’The Lake Illawarra High School year 10 student is referring to Tyne Cot Cemetery, the world’s largest Commonwealth war cemetery.

Lauren said another highlight was at Passchendaele battlefield, where group members experienced a day in the life of a soldier.

‘’We did a day where we actually got dressed up inWorld War Igear and we had to walk about nine kilometres,’’ she said.

‘’We had to hold a rifle and had to have the gas mask on. Our medics dida demonstration of picking someone up and at one point we were throwing grenades. That experience Ifeel that gave each and every one of us a feel of what they [soldiers] went through just a tiny bit.’’

Lauren said she applied to be part of the Premier’s Anzac Memorial Scholarship because she had a keen interest in history.‘’I didn’t knowthis until Iapplied for the scholarship but Ihave ancestors that participated in WWI.Although it is a horrible thing.To be able to experience something like that is interesting and to learn about that first hand, to be there and see things, it was amazing.’’

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