Le Quesnoy

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Film: trench life in the First World War
• http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/media/video/fil
m-trench-life-in-the-first-world-war
The Battle of Le Quesnoy
The Germans held Le Quesnoy for almost the entire
war, from August 1914 through to its dramatic
liberation on 4 November 1918. The New Zealanders
scaled the ladders they set against the ancient walls of
the town and took the remaining Germans as
prisoners. The liberation of Le Quesnoy was just one of
the many campaigns that New Zealanders fought on
the Western Front, the line that stretched across
northern France and Belgium. The majority of New
Zealanders killed in the First World War lost their lives
in the battles that raged there from 1916 to 1918.
Around 12,000 New Zealanders died on the Western
Front in two and a half years fighting; this was more
than in the entire Second World War.
http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/war/le-quesnoy/new-zealand-and-le-quesnoy
Capture of the walls of Le
Quesnoy by George Edmund
Butler, painted in 1920. The
painting shows New Zealand
soldiers scaling the ancient
walls of the old French
fortress town before
capturing the remaining
German defenders on 4
November 1918.
http://www.nzhistory.net.nz
/media/photo/capture-lequesnoy-painting
http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/media_gallery/tid/41
The Landscape
http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/media/ph
oto/le-quesnoy-street-sign
The Landscape
Detail of the New Zealand memorial at Le Quesnoy, a bas-relief
depicting the scaling of the wall.
http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/media/photo/le-quesnoy-memorial
The Landscape
The monument dedicated to the New Zealand soldiers is an
embossed design featuring several symbolic elements:
• soldiers scaling the wall of the city of oaks with the help of a
ladder;
• a winged woman symbolising freedom;
• the palm, held out to the soldiers by the winged woman,
symbolising victory;
• crosses, below and to the left, showing the numerous lives lost
on that day;
• an epitaph paying homage to the New Zealand soldiers;
• ferns, New Zealand’s emblem, were planted at the foot of the
memorial;
• on both sides of the monument, the emblems of New Zealand
and of Le Quesnoy can be distinguished.
Embassy of France - in Wellington
http://www.ambafrance-nz.org/spip.php?article465
The Landscape
Other New Zealand connections in Le Quesnoy are the
Rue Nouvelle Zélande within the walls and the Rue
d'Averill outside them. The latter is named after
Lieutenant Leslie Averill, the intelligence officer of the
4th Battalion, 3rd New Zealand (Rifle) Brigade. He was
the first up the ladder during the assault on the town on
4 November, and he maintained a close association with
the town for the rest of his life. The town's primary
school (l'Ecole du Lieutenant Averill) is also named after
him.
http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/war/le-quesnoy/visiting-le-quesnoy
Perceptions
NEW ZEALAND FOOTPRINTS IN LE QUESNOY SOIL
Since the victory of 4 November 1918, the passage
of these New Zealand soldiers in Le Quesnoy has
been marked by numerous physical reminders of
the event and of its liberators …
Embassy of France - in Wellington
http://www.ambafrance-nz.org/spip.php?article465
Perceptions
Wreaths lie at the base of the New Zealand memorial at Le
Quesnoy, Anzac Day, 1975. The inscription reads 'From the
Uttermost Ends of the Earth. De L'Autre Extremité Du Monde'.
http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/media/photo/le-quesnoy-wreath-laying
Perceptions
… the New Zealand soldiers have made their mark
in the history of our country forever. To thank them
for the incredible military feat that they achieved,
the town of Le Quesnoy has offered New Zealanders
a part of their wall forever, opposite the memorial.
When you visit the memorial, you will find yourself,
as it were, in New Zealand.
Embassy of France - in Wellington
http://www.ambafrance-nz.org/spip.php?article465
Perceptions
The Captain of the 2000 All Blacks, Todd
Blackadder, recalls [the All Black visit to le
Quesnoy] in his recent biography:
'We walked around the town ... [to the memorial]
and we laid a wreath there. I was standing next to a
Frenchman who had tears streaming down his face.
He was moved by the generosity of the New
Zealanders all those years ago. It's something you
don't understand when you're in New Zealand.'
Phil Gifford, Loyal: the Todd Blackadder story, Hodder Moa Beckett,
Auckland, 2001
http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/war/le-quesnoy/visiting-le-quesnoy
Continuing Connections
Despite the large physical distance that separate France
from New Zealand, ties between the two countries remain
very strong. Le Quesnoy regularly hosts New Zealanders
who come to visit the memorial and the cemetery.
Lieutenant Averill, who was the first to pass over the town’s
wall, visited Le Quesnoy many times and it is now his son,
Colin Averill, who attends the ceremonies.
Furthermore, a delegation from the New Zealand Embassy
in Paris visits the town on ANZAC Day and on 11 November
to attend ceremonies each year, in memory of the soldiers.
Embassy of France - in Wellington
http://www.ambafrance-nz.org/spip.php?article465
Continuing Connections
In 2000 a small exhibition covering the events
of November 1918 was opened in Le
Quesnoy. Organised by La Maison Quercitaine
de Nouvelle-Zélande, it contains documents,
photographs and other memorabilia relating
to the New Zealand involvement in the
fighting in the area. One purpose of La
Maison is to welcome visitors from New
Zealand.
http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/war/le-quesnoy/visiting-lequesnoy
Continuing Connections
This is the head of the procession to the New Zealand Memorial during the
Le Quesnoy commemoration, which was attended by both the All Blacks
and the New Zealand A team on 5 November 2000. Former All Black player
Robbie Deans, one of the coaching staff of the New Zealand A team, can
be seen in the foreground on the right.
http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/media/photo/le-quesnoy-commemoration-2000
Continuing Connections
During their tour of France in 2000, the All Blacks
visited Le Quesnoy on 5 November, having earlier in
the day laid wreaths at the grave of former All Black
captain David Gallaher, killed in the Battle of
Passchendaele, at Poperinge in Belgium. At Le
Quesnoy they were joined by the New Zealand A
team, which was also in France. The rugby players and
various officials led a parade to the site of the New
Zealand battlefield memorial, where wreaths were
laid.
http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/war/le-quesnoy/visiting-le-quesnoy
Continuing Connections
One of the many links between the towns of Le Quesnoy and
Cambridge (Waikato, New Zealand) is that Le Quesnoy is known as
“ the town of Oaks” and Cambridge as “the town of trees”.
Several stained-glass windows in the Saint Andrews of Cambridge
church, another such link, are dedicated to the memory of the
soldiers who died in the field of honour. The three-part panes that
commemorate World War I are of particular interest, especially to
Le Quesnoy. In fact the right panel shows soldiers scaling Le
Quesnoy’s walls on 4 November 1918, a week before the Armistice.
These stained-glass panes were unveiled in December 1923, the
day of the inauguration, in France, of the memorial to the soldiers
who lost their lives.
http://www.ambafrance-nz.org/spip.php?article466
Continuing Connections
This is a detail of the war
memorial window in St Andrew's
Church, Cambridge, New
Zealand. The image shows New
Zealand soldiers scaling the walls
at Le Quesnoy. The caption reads
'Le Quesnoy 4 Nov 1918'.
http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/media/photo/l
e-quesnoy-memorial-window
Worksheet
Celebrated in
landscape
Back to Le
Quesnoy to
visit
Liberators
NZ Soldiers
The Dead
Present day
NZ’ers visit – All
Blacks
Commemorations
Le Quesnoy
remembered
in NZ
Memorial
Homework Task
You are a Le Quesnoy high school student.
Your teacher has asked you to produce a piece of creative
writing to show your understanding of the Battle of Le
Quesnoy and the role of the NZ soldiers.
The finished products will be sent to the sister school in
Cambridge, NZ.
Task: produce a piece of creative writing no longer than a
page in length. It could be a letter, a poem, a story, an
acrostic……

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