Villers-Bretonneux remembers once again: School supports bushfire efforts


Citrus Bob Utber is well known in Villers-Bretonneux, a place he has visited on a pilgrimage, and a place where his grandfather was killed during World War I.


He spent a lot of time at the school teaching kids to play footy and to barrack for Geelong.  Patrick Dangerfield is famous in VB.


Citrus acknowledges the fantastic effort by the kids and shares their letter to him,  the sentiment something The Footy Almanac community will really appreciate.


Thanks Citrus.







Translation of the letter:


Victoria School  Villers-Bretonneux


Dear firefighters Australia,


Thank you for saving Australia.


Thank you very much, we are thinking of firefighters and residents.


Be strong! Hold on! Thank you for your solidarity.


We are with you! We are yours.


We have seen news reports on your work, it is impressive.


We are sad.


Even if the lights are not on, you can do it. Do not be discouraged.


Don’t take too many risks to avoid dying.


We will help you thanks to our kitty because you gave a lot during the first world war, and that you rebuilt our school.


Lest We Forget! The children of the Victoria school in Villers – Bretonneux



Translation of covering letter to Citrus Bob Utber


Hello dear Australian friends


Thank you for your messages, our friendship is alive and well in difficult times!


We were moved by the destroyed nature, the houses burned, victims, animals …


Villers-Bretonneux mobilized to help Australia: a little kitty was launched by the association which manages the


School museum and we received many donations.


The college has been writing to letters which we will send directly to the barracks of firefighters.


They raised money to help an Australian animal protection association.


Our students made drawings and letters, we read articles in class, and we sent them to the newspaper in our region.


Several TV stations came to report.


The municipality organized a solidarity walk, etc …


We hope the fires will stop soon and that you receive enough rain then.


With us winter is particularly mild. We did not have snow at all so far, and we don’t put on our big coat everyday.


This morning the ground was frozen, the trees were white and a light mist was floating on the Somme river.


It was pretty, too bad I didn’t take my camera!


Thank you again for your messages, and for the friendship you have shown us, testified by writing to me from time to time for several years.


It’s always a great pleasure to read your letters and share them with students.


With all our support,


Kind wishes,


Guillaume Fournet for Victoria School students




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About Bob Utber

At 84 years of age Citrus Bob is doing what he has always done since growing up on a small farm at Lang Lang. Talking, watching and writing sport and in recent years writing books. He lives in Mildura with his very considerate wife (Jenny) and a groodle named 'Chloe on Flinders' and can be found at Deakin 27 every day.


  1. great story and you easy to hear the voices of the children in the text

  2. That is absolutely superb Citrus.

  3. Brilliant. Feeling 90% less Grumpy today after reading that Citrus. You may be onto something. Cheers.

  4. Keiran Croker says

    Thanks for sharing Bob. It was my privilege to visit the school last August and attend the nearby memorial for the fallen.
    It has been my ambition for sometime to visit these areas to honour my Great Uncle who died nearby in Lagnicourt in April 1917.
    The bond between VB and Victoria in particular is still strong 100 years on.

  5. Yvette Wroby says

    Wonderful. Thanks for sharing

  6. Thanks everyone for your comments. VB is certainly a special place for Victorians. It is my intention to nominate Guillaume for some sort of a Medal soon. Perhaps one of those honours that seem to miss the “ordinary people” both here and abroad. he certainly deserves it!

  7. Peter Fuller says

    That’s very moving Bob and hearty congratulations to you for sustaining the link. In a world that often seems harsh and unfeeling, we need these examples of good people doing modest good things to make a difference, and incidentally to inspire others.
    Well done also to press for an award for Guillaume, thoroughly deserving.

  8. A hand written letter with cursive script and pictures. Must have been a great surprise.

    Well done Bob.

  9. Wonderful stuff, Citrus.
    Very moving indeed.

  10. I have tears pooling here in Victoria, Australia, this January day in 2020.
    Thank you for sharing that, Citrus Bob.

    On we go – together.

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