Outrageous: French Company Destroying Battlefield Graves With Giant Wind Turbines

On the Western Front: a soldier’s trench, too often became his grave.


The efforts by wind power outfits to desecrate the battlefield graves of thousands who died in France are nothing short of outrageous.

Quite rightly, historians and the relatives and descendants of those who died fighting to protect French lives and liberty are furious as a French wind power outfit literally rips up a battlefield and the final resting place for thousands of men who made the supreme sacrifice. This latest outrage follows several other proposals to do precisely the same across the battlefields of northern France.

When the guns fell silent all across the Western Front on 11 November 1918, thoughts naturally turned to the 10 million combatants who had perished in what was meant to be the war to end all wars.

Of those who were killed in action, countless thousands remain buried where they fought and fell over a century ago.

STT’s grandfathers served with the AIF in Belgium and France, and were there when the Armistice took effect. One of them, who had won a Military Medal for conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty, described how every house and vehicle flew Allied flags and how the French went wild with delight, in Paris and all across France that day.

The killing and bloodshed had stopped; battered, broken and bruised these Australian boys were going home. But tens of thousands of those who left Australia’s sunny shores would never see their homeland again.

Consider a country, remote from the rest of the world, barely a “Nation”, with a little over 4 million people, largely clinging to the south-eastern cities and coasts of its wide brown land, that saw some 420,000 men, from all over it, and from all walks of life – farmers, bankers, lawyers, doctors, teachers, Aboriginal stockmen, and everything in between – enlist for service in the First World War; representing 38.7 per cent of the male population aged between 18 and 44. The whole country missed them all at the time; and far too many of them were missed forever after.

Of that number, some 330,000 joined the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) and saw action overseas: at Gallipoli, in the Middle East, Belgium and France.

In France, the AIF often saw the thickest of the fighting; took the most ground, artillery and prisoners; and suffered more than their fair share of casualties: by 1918, Lieut.-General Sir John Monash had honed his skills as a commander, and those of his troops, to be without equal.

Of the more than 295,000 members of the AIF who served in France and Belgium – at places like Fromelles, the Somme, Bullecourt, Messines, Passchendaele and Villers-Bretonneux – over 46,000 lost their lives, and 132,000 were wounded. Of those who were killed in action, some 11,000 have no known grave.


Villers-Bretonneux: to the memory of the 11,000 AIF
men who fell in France and who have no known grave.


For Australians, that ground is our most hallowed. The contribution made by these men was Second to None: in valour, life and limb.

In the fearless recapture of towns like Villers-Bretonneux – an action involving a counter-attack at night, without artillery support – described by those that witnessed it as “the Most Brilliant Feat of Arms in the War” – the AIF earned the enduring respect of an embattled French people who, as this sign above the playground in their school declares, will never forget what was done by so many fine young men, so far from home.

Ecole Villers Brittenaux

That battle was fought on 25 April ie Anzac Day – a fact not lost on the AIF men who lined up in the dark that night outside the village which had been captured and all but destroyed by the Germans. The scene is described poignantly in Ross McMullin’s Pompey Elliott (Scribe 2008). Pompey Elliot was a bullish but brilliant Brigade commander, whose exuberant character instilled endless drive and valour in his men:

It was a complicated manoeuvre, especially in the dark, but Pompey’s men hurried forward to make up for lost time. They were ‘tugging and straining at the leash’, Scanlan noted. Keeping direction in the misty blackness was relatively straightforward, particularly for the 59th companies on the right, thanks to the blazing buildings in Villers-Brettoneux which had been set alight by ancillary shellfire. Silent and resolute, Pompey Elliott’s soldiers proceeded up the slope, taut with anticipation, excitement, and dread. Who would be the unlucky ones this time? Their splendid morale and determination were reinforced by the realisation that it was the third anniversary of the original Anzac Day, and they had an opportunity to commemorate it with a special exploit. The sporadic shellfire and obstructive wire they encountered on their way forward did not deter them. They pressed on until they reached the first objective, where there was a brief pause while the leaders checked positioning and direction. …

German flares went up; one landed near moving Australians and kept burning. They stopped still as one – a tribute to their training and discipline – but a machine-gun just ahead opened up erratically. In response Young gave, ‘in a calm, easy voice’ (according to a nearby sergeant), the order to charge.

With all the pent-up nervous energy that had accumulated during this long, suspense-filled day unleashed at last, Pompey’s men sprang forward with a wild, terrifying yell. ‘That ended any further attempt at checking direction’, observed Scanlan, who described the raw spontaneous roar by his men as ‘sufficient to make the enemy’s blood run cold’. The whole line responded, the intimidating cry being taken up by the 57th men along with the 59th and the 60th to the north. They all surged forward with an exhilarating, irresistible momentum. There was a desperate hail of machine-gun and rifle fire from the Germans, but the roar alarmed them, and their shooting was generally inaccurate. Most of them were caught by surprise and overwhelmed.

An English officer, who witnessed the work done by the Australians, Neville Lyton wrote:

the importance of Villers-Brettoneux cannot be over-estimated…. The Australians made a counter-attack at night which was completely successful … one of the most outstanding manoeuvres of the war. … the battlefield discipline of the Australians must be absolutely perfect, no matter what their billet discipline may be… Even if the Australians had achieved nothing else during this war but the recapture of Villers-Brettoneux, they would have won the right to be considered among the greatest fighting races of the world.

Little wonder that Australians hold sacred what was done for Villers-Brettoneux and little wonder that its people hold Australians in such high esteem a Century on. And rightly so.

Not only did Australian Diggers save many a French Town and Village, as they waited for the scarce shipping needed to bring them home after the Armistice on 11 November 1918, many remained in France and helped to rebuild their schools; and, on their return, rallied and raised funds back home to help with that fine and noble task.

vb school

The deep ancestral connection between many Australians and those who fought to save the French, and who endured indescribable suffering in doing so, brings with it a mixture of pride in the sacrifices made, and a sense of collective grief for the tragic loss of so many promising young lives; lives of precisely the kind needed to fulfill the hopes of a young Nation.

At Bullecourt, Northern France, during two successive battles in April and May 1917 the AIF suffered horrendous casualties: in total, more than 10,000 were killed, wounded or captured (for a moving understanding of what these men suffered see this article).

Given the deep and burning sentiment Australians still hold for the thousands of young Australian men who lie buried in the fields of France, the outrage that erupted over French wind power outfit, Engie’s plans to spear half-a-dozen giant wind turbines all over the Bullecourt battlefield was perfectly understandable and entirely justified.

The same fury greeted a proposal to desecrate the battlefield at Villers-Brettoneux.

The battlefield at Bullecourt is literally a National Cemetery and home to the remains of some 4,000 soldiers: Australians, British and German. For a Century that ground has been their final resting place. But Engie (who operate in Australia, and were previously known as GDF Suez) decided to turn a sacred graveyard into a series of interconnected quarries.

Each turbine base needs to be excavated down to a depth of around 15 m to house 45 tonnes of steel reinforcing rod and close to 500 m³ of concrete. Trenches carrying cables would criss-cross the battlefield. Inevitably, human remains will be crushed and/or dragged to the surface. Outrageous doesn’t cover it. The high-handed arrogance displayed by French wind power outfits is appalling.

The Australians fought with dash and elan alongside their Canadian, English, Scots and Irish cousins in Belgium and France.

The Canadians and British suffered horrendous casualties, including in the battle for Cambrai that took place in late September early October 1918, where the Canadians led the attack and lost heavily.  More than 30,000 Canadians were killed and wounded overall in the Battle of Cambrai. And thousands of them have no known grave.

Nothing the wind industry does shocks or surprises STT, anymore. These people know no bounds, moral decency or shame. What appears below is just the latest example of their callous disregard for their human victims; whether trying to live peaceful prosperous lives; or, having made the supreme sacrifice, to rest in peace.

Fury at plans to build wind turbines on graves of British First World War heroes
Andy Lines
6 March 2020

Soldiers follow a tank at Ribencourt la Tour near where tens of thousands of British soldiers were killed at the Battle of Cambrai

Plans to build a wind turbine farm on a famous First World War battlefield in northern France have been described as “revolting”.
Tens of thousands of British soldiers were killed during the historic Battle of Cambrai and many of their bodies were never recovered.
Cambrai became famous as the first battle in the Great War to feature a major tank offensive. Now businesses are trying to exploit the land to make money from a giant wind farm – with early work already under way.

Victoria Cross winning war hero Richard Wain faced down machine guns at the Battle of Cambrai

Military historian Philippe Gorczynski said: “We are seeing more than 100 years simply pushed aside with no respect whatsoever for the blood spilt on the battlefield.”

Mr Gorczynski is angry over the decision to dig foundations to erect six turbines on the land which, until now, has been protected.

Let the thousands rest where they lay.

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.


  1. Fiona T Spence says:

    Two years ago I was at the centenary dawn service at Villers Brettoneux on ANZAC Day and was moved by the numbers at this event and the entente cordiale between Australia and the people of Amiens and Villers Brettoneux.

    Two of my great grandfathers and my great grandfather (all from Perth) fought on the Western Front and my great grandfather was one of the Australian Generals at Villers Brettoneux who helped stop and turn the German advance. I have such sad letters from my 18 year old grandfather recording the deaths of fallen comrades who he had laughed and chatted with minutes before they died.
    President Macron and his ministers are behaving very badly allowing wind farms to be built so close to where my grandfather’s brave comrades are buried, denying them and those who wish to visit them a chance of quiet “birdsong.” It is deeply disrespectful of the dead.-
    Isn’t France big enough to put these huge wind turbines somewhere else?

  2. William Gray says:

    I thought the French government had already intervened after this threat was raised last year. Was it a different battlefield – how have the wind bastards managed to continue with this unbelievable outrage. I’m sure the locals and others have protested but this very important issued needs international attention once again-and again. What of human rights for the dead soldiers?

  3. Jacqueline Rovensky says:

    There is nothing more to say other than Desecration of grave sites is horrendous no matter who’s and how old they are, the sooner the French accept this the better.
    Surely the French President should be out their preventing this abomination.
    France has nuclear energy facilities and they should be kept operating and more built in suitable locations as emission free energy providers NOT closing them and destroying such sacred sites with infamous Wind Turbines which give no peace to the dead or living.
    France should have a duty to look after these places and prevent Desecration for any reason.
    Then again is the President interested in the dichotomy of the situation, Engie is a French company, so will the President stop them from this Horrendous action!
    Does he see the problem France has, they are committed to reducing omissions from energy production, because of some misguided belief the world will end ‘tomorrow’ from air pollution, and to do this they will close down an energy production system that produces no emissions (nuclear) replacing it with one that does and one that leaves behind a massive environmental headache as they need to frequently replace the machines and their parts that produce this fictitious environmental friendly energy production method (wind turbines) and in doing so destroys the resting place of so many who fought and died to save the French from the horrors of invasion!!!
    One invasion they are rescued from, but another they happily accommodate.
    Contradictory is the only way to describe this attitude to their history – but then their history is fraught with contradictions. So can we expect anything else.
    I am sure their are many French people who are also disgusted with this situation but it seems the French President/Government is more interested in standing by a stupid and misguided agreement than in ensuring their history is kept intact and their people are able to stand straight and continue to be grateful to those many thousands of foreigners who arrived to keep them from the tyranny of a powerful enemy, at their own peril, leaving behind loved ones in far off places with no allegiance to the French nation, other than to help them in their time of need.
    These people need to stand up and stand over the land to prevent the desecration of these graves and their historical desire to remember those who lost their lives.

    • Jeff Walther says:

      Polls show that many (most) young French believe that nuclear power contributes to CO2 emissions. Their education system is failing there.

      The Green party has its fingers in the ruling coalition and pushes the wind stupidity in the face of their nuclear system. It’s idiotic, but there you go.

  4. Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

  5. Terry Conn says:

    My father fought at El Alamein and for 3 years in total in World War 2 in the Middle East and then brought home and sent to New Guinea, finally medically discharged after 5 years service and died an early death from injury and illnesses fighting for the freedoms our modern youth enjoy in today’s Australia. He and my mother were born and lived in the area now occupied by the Bodangora wind farm in central west NSW. My mother was actually born in the original Bodangora homestead in 1912. The contempt by wind farm proponents and modern urban wind farm investors for the rural communities in this country and their history is simply echoed by them across the the 4 corners of the globe – sure, time moves on but in this instance this wind farm movement is achieving nothing for humanity whatsoever except other than as the embodiment of the greatest scam ever perpetuated by human beings – history will prove this to be the case and the rusting hulks of useless wind turbines will forever be the evidence.

  6. Reblogged this on uwerolandgross.

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