New Zealand Battlefield Tours: Spirit of Remembrance

Spirit of Remembrance - Opening the Gates of History

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WW1: New Zealand Cemeteries & Memorials: France & Belgium: Western Front

 

The Flanders Poppy - The Spirit of Remembrance Buttes New British Cemetery (N.Z.) situated in Polygon Wood, Zonnebeke. The New Zealand National Memorial, Gravenstafel, (Belgium) which commemorates the New Zealand Division's participation in the Battle of Broodseinde on 4 October 1917.

The Flanders Poppy - The Spirit of Remembrance Also in this area is the NZ Messines Ridge Memorial (Belgium), erected for the Battle of Messines in June 1917. The names of 828 soldiers of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force who fell in or near Messines in 1917 and 1918 are recorded here.

The Flanders Poppy - The Spirit of Remembrance The WW1 Tyne Cot cemetery (the largest in France) is approximately 4 miles from Ypres near Passchendaele (Passendale) in Belgium, and includes the names of 1,166 New Zealanders among the 34,857 missing Commonwealth casualties it records, while the cemetery contains 520 New Zealand graves.

The Flanders Poppy - The Spirit of Remembrance The Caterpillar Valley Memorial to the Missing also is a New Zealand designated cemetery located about half a mile north-west of the village of Montauban in the Somme district in France and was known as Caterpillar Wood. The Caterpillar Valley Cemetery has 125 New Zealand graves and a memorial to the 1205 missing men of the New Zealand Division who died in the Battles of the Somme in 1916.

The Flanders Poppy - The Spirit of Remembrance North east of this on a rise between High Wood on the left and Delville Wood on the right, is the large New Zealand National Memorial at Longueval in France. Similar in design to the national memorial at Messines it marks the actual position that the New Zealand Division took as their original objective in the first Battle of the Somme, and from which they launched the successful attack on Flers on 15 September.

The Flanders Poppy - The Spirit of Remembrance The Cité Bonjean Memorial to the Missing in the Cité Bonjean Military Cemetery is west of the town of Armentieres in France. It shows the names of 47 casualties of the New Zealand Division lost in 1916-17 in the neighbourhood of Armentieres  who have no known grave as well as containing 452 New Zealand graves.

The Flanders Poppy - The Spirit of Remembrance The Grévillers Memorial to the Missing in Grévillers British Cemetery north of the Grévillers-Bapaume road in France and shows the names of men caught up in the fierce defensive fighting of the New Zealand Division in the Battles of the Somme over the the period March-August 1918, and the advance to victory between 8 August - 11 November 1918. 446 men who have no known grave are named on the memorial and 151 New Zealand graves are located in the cemetery.

The Flanders Poppy - The Spirit of Remembrance Le Quesnoy is 18 kilometres south-east of Valenciennes in France and was for four years a highly fortified German garrison town. On 5 November 1918 (1 week before the armistice) it was attacked by men of the New Zealand Division who scaled the high walls of the outer ramparts and captured the German commander and his garrison of over 1,000 men with a loss of 90 men. On the face of the walls is Le Quesnoy National Memorial which commemorates their amazing success. New Zealand and New Zealanders are still today a major influence in this medieval town with streets, shops and schools named after New Zealand and the town twinned with Cambridge in NZ. Le Quesnoy remains forever a small part of far off New Zealand.  

The Flanders Poppy - The Spirit of Remembrance Arras (Tunnels)
In 1916 the New Zealand Tunnelling Company started tunnelling in Arras using the natural cave systems under the town and extending them into 'no-man's land'. This was to allow troops to surface virtually right on the German lines and immediately attack the enemy trenches without having to cross no-mans land. The work took nearly a year and in 1917, the tunnels were completed right up to the German lines, and in April that year 20,000 British, NZ and other Commonwealth troops streamed out of the new tunnel exits - taking the Germans by complete suprise and thus beginning the Battle of Arras.

The tunnels were rediscovered in 1996 and it was discovered that the New Zealand tunnellers had matched the location of the caves with New Zealand towns: from North to South, from Russell through Auckland, New Plymouth, Wellington, Nelson, Blenheim, Christchurch, Dunedin and finally to Bluff with the names still carved into the chalk walls. The Carrière Wellington Museum in Arras now includes tours into the cave system itself. Contact us for further information on this amazing tour.

The Flanders Poppy - The Spirit of Remembrance Marfaux Memorial to the Missing. Marfaux is a village in the Marne area in France, on the north-east bank of the river Ardre, 18 kilometres from Reins and 16 kilometres from Epernay. Marfaux British Cemetery - about a kilometre from the village holds 15 New Zealand graves, and the memorial records the names of one sergeant and nine privates of the New Zealand Cyclist Battalion who died in battle in July 1918 and whose graves are lost.

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