Sydney The veterans have marched, the Last Post has sounded over parade grounds and town squares and 'two up' games have packed out the pubs. The rituals of Anzac Day remain the same, but each year its interpretation undergoes subtle changes. For many Australians, Anzac Day means Gallipoli. Partly because it was the country's first battle of the first world war, and partly because of the romance and mythologising of Peter Weir's eponymous film of 1981. Attention is now turning to the less well known but much bloodier battles of the Western Front. As a book reviewer in The Australian put it this week: 'The story of the First Australian Imperial Force on the Western Front is beginning to match the shorter and simpler story of Gallipoli.' The scale of the carnage in Belgium and France dwarfs the sacrifice made by the Anzacs at the Dardanelles. During the battle of Pozieres, in July 1916, six weeks of fighting claimed nearly as many Australians as the entire eight months of the Gallipoli campaign. The federal government announced on Tuesday that it would build a A$2.5 million (HK$16.2 million) interpretive centre in northern France aimed at raising awareness of the sacrifices and achievements of Australian troops on the Western Front. It will be constructed near the site of the Australian War Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux. Anzac troops liberated the village in April 1918, with the loss of 1,200 men. Military historian and former infantry battalion commander Peter Pedersen also believes the Western Front campaign deserves greater recognition. In a lecture at the Sydney Institute this week, he suggested that, while the bronzed Anzacs of Gallipoli were undoubtedly magnificent fighters, it was not until 1917 and 1918 that they became good soldiers. Dr Pedersen, author of The Anzacs: Gallipoli to the Western Front, also exploded some of the more persistent myths about Australia's role in the war. Australians regarded themselves as the best soldiers in the world - independent, resourceful, free of class distinctions and bound by mateship. But in fact the Canadians were the superior troops, Dr Pedersen believes, at least for the first few years of the war. 'Until 1917 the Canadians were the best in the Empire,' he said. Popular opinion also has it that lion-hearted Aussies and New Zealanders were sent to their deaths by blimpish, incompetent British commanders. In his guide to the battlefields of the Western Front, author Mat McLachlan writes of British Field Marshal Douglas Haig ordering impossible assaults through the quagmire that was Passchendaele. 'In a war characterised by incompetent decision-making, Haig's call to attack Passchendaele was a standout.' But more often than not it was Australian officers who were responsible for the blunders in which brave men were sent needlessly to their deaths. The Battle of the Nek, at Gallipoli, is a case in point. 'The Nek was an Australian blunder, Peter Weir aside,' Dr Pedersen says. An Australian commander contributed 'significantly' to the disaster that was the Battle of Fromelles in France. And failure at the battle of Bullecourt lay mainly at the feet of Australian gunners. To engage in a reassessment of the Anzac legend is to take nothing away from the bravery of the Diggers in the trenches, who endured unimaginable horrors. Yesterday, their memory was honoured once more by rain-sodden crowds at the Cenotaph in Sydney's Martin Place, and at similar dawn services across the nation.