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PM pays tribute to ‘Curly’ Blyth

11 October 2001 Media Statement

PM pays tribute to ‘Curly’ Blyth


Prime Minister Helen Clark today paid tribute to New Zealand World War One veteran Lawrence Morris ‘Curly’ Blyth, who died yesterday aged 105, and said that that his passing symbolised the end of an era.

“Curly Blyth had a long and distinguished military career, but it was his involvement in one of New Zealand Army’s most famous actions in the First World War, the liberation of the French town of Le Quesnoy, for which he is perhaps best remembered.

“Curly Blyth and the other New Zealanders who scaled the ramparts of Le Quesnoy in November 1918, shortly before the Great War ended, forged a bond with the inhabitants of that town which endures to this day, and which exemplifies the heroism of New Zealand soldiers on battlefields far away.

“Curly Blyth received numerous decorations and honours throughout his long and colourful life. He received France’s highest military decoration, the Legion of Honour, and last year a street in the village of Beaudignies, near Le Quesnoy, was named after him.

“Curly Blyth’s death brings an era almost to a close, as there is now only one surviving soldier to have enlisted in New Zealand and served overseas during the First World War, a savage and terrible conflict which claimed around 12,000 New Zealand lives.

“On behalf of all New Zealanders, I extend my best wishes and sympathy to the family of Curly Blyth at this sad time,” Helen Clark said.

ENDS

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