CWGC Cemetery link - Albert Communal Extension Cemetery (www.cwgc.org)
Albert was the main town behind the lines for the Allies nearest to the 1916 Somme battlefields. It lies on the main D929 road that runs east to Bapaume across the Somme battlefields, and west to Amiens in the other direction. The fact that the road is so straight suggests its origins as one of many Roman Roads emanating from Amiens.
In the centre of Albert is one of the most famous icons for the Australians in the Great War - the Golden Virgin on top of the Basilica. The golden statue of the Madonna holding aloft her child was visible from far away, and of course was an excellent target for enemy artillery. It was damaged fairly early on, in January 1915, and the statue was knocked from its perch but stayed leaning at an angle before being secured by the French in that position.
The Diggers nicknamed her "Fanny Durack" after the famed female Olympic diver of the early 20th Century. Legend had it that is Fanny completed her dive and fell, Albert would be lost. Albert was lost in the German offensive of spring 1918, but it was British artillery that finally nudged Fanny off the board, before the town was recaptured in the "Last Hundred Days" offensive by the Allies in the autumn of 1918.
The cemetery is clos to the heart of town. If you have been there tell us about your visit.