Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

New Zealand fallen never forgotten at Beaudignies

New Zealand fallen never forgotten at Beaudignies


By Stephen Olsen in Le Quesnoy, France
Sunday, April 23

As New Zealanders were preparing for ANZAC Day 2011 a New Zealand soldier often described as one of "Christchurch's heroic sons" and who died on the Western Front within days of the 1918 Armistice was being accorded a special placemark on the outskirts of the village of Beaudignies, northern France.

In this quiet rural setting the name of Henry James Nicholas, a Victoria Cross holder, will live on through the designation of a new street in his honour near to where he lost his life, as commemorated on the day by a group of some 200 local villagers and visiting New Zealand citizens.

Amongst this group was Judith Reid, the grand daughter of Nicholas' older sister Alice. Speaking at the ceremony honouring her great uncle - known to her from childhood simply as Uncle Harry, Mrs Reid said she expecially wanted to pass on the family's thanks to the people of Beaudignies and their Mayor, Raymonde Dramez, for the dedication shown not just to her great uncle's memory but to all of those for whom this region is their final resting place.

Henry James Nicholas was only 26 when he was killed in action on 23 October 1918, less than a year after the act of bravery at Polderhoek, Belgium, for which he was awarded a VC.

Judith Reid, great niece of Henry James Nicholas, with the Mayor of Beaudignies, Raymonde Dramez

While in Le Quesnoy over ANZAC weekend PM John Key discusses a project to establish a permanent New Zealand museum and hotel in the town with leading military historian Herb Farrant (left), Russell Briggs of the Auckland War Memorial Museum and UK based architect Dean Brown.

NZ Army Captain Albie Rothman - currently on a tour of duty with the British Army - holds son Ethan, 3, at the Messines Ridge Memorial on ANZAC Day 2011 in France. Captain Rothman laid a wreath at the Memorial on behalf of the NZ Army.

A wreath was also laid on behalf of all New Zealanders living in Europe by Paris resident and well known activist Trevor Richards. Richards told Scoop this was his first tour of the fields and scenes of the 1914-1918 war. Speaking about the prior day's commemoration in Le Quesnoy, a town he has visited, he noted that the New Zealand troops of the time had put their lives on the line "with a cunning plan worthy of Baldrick" in order to avoid citizens of Le Quesnoy being shelled with artillery and "becoming what we'd now call collateral damage".


PM John Key and wife Bronagh meet the lone bagpiper, Warwick Mitchell of New Zealand's Tag Along Tours, while expat kiwi children draped in a flag and wearing a Crusaders rugby jersey look on.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 


Globetrotter: How AUKUS May Damage NATO
The fallout over the AUKUS deal, as we are now seeing, has been a severe rift in relations between two historic allies, the U.S. and France. And the collateral damage may also include NATO. Only weeks after U.S. President Joe Biden courageously ended the war in Afghanistan—in the face of bitter opposition from the media and Congress... More>>

ANZUS without NZ: Why AUSUK might not be all it seems
We live, to borrow a phrase, in interesting times. The pandemic aside, relations between the superpowers are tense. The sudden arrival of the new AUKUS security agreement between Australia, the US and UK simply adds to the general sense of unease internationally... More>>

Bill Bennett: Farewell Clive Sinclair
My first brush with Sinclair was as an A-level student in the UK. Before he made computers, Sinclair designed an affordable programmable calculator. It fascinated me and, thanks to a well-paid part-time job, I managed to buy one. From memory it could only handle a few programmable steps, but it was enough to make complex calculations.... More>>




Binoy Kampmark: Melbourne Quake: Shaken, Not Stirred

It began just after a news interview. Time: a quarter past nine. Morning of September 22, and yet to take a sip from the brewed Turkish coffee, its light thin surface foam inviting. The Australian city of Melbourne in its sixth lockdown, its residents fatigued and ravaged by regulations. Rising COVID-19 numbers, seemingly inexorable... More>>



Keith Rankin: New Zealand Superannuation: The Rules Versus Common Sense

Radio New Zealand (Checkpoint) ran stories last week about New Zealanders aged over 65 stranded in Australia who are at risk of having their pensions ('New Zealand Superannuation') stopped, and then having to repay the funds they received while in Australia... More>>


Dunne Speaks: Proud to call Aotearoa home

Te Paati Māori continues to provide a breath of fresh air in the political space, otherwise thoroughly choked by Covid19. Its call this week this week for a referendum on changing the country’s name to Aotearoa by 2026 is timely and a welcome diversion to the necessarily short-term focus engendered by Covid19... More>>