25/08/2010

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History

 

The story of the delivery of Le Quesnoy by the men of the 3rd (Rifle) Brigade is imprinted in the very walls of the town and in the memory of all New Zealanders.

The troops of the 2nd Brigade (Otago and Canterbury) prepared the ground, with a series of operations in the hamlets of Vertigneul and Pont-à-Pierres, near Neuville-en-Avesnois and in Salesches, and above all the capture of Beaudignies.

On 4 November 1918 the entire 3rd Rifle Brigade, totalling just under 1,700 men, was positioned at the foot of the town walls, while the 1st Brigade (Auckland and Wellington) was on the northern side of the town, moving east towards the Mormal forest.

By 10.00 a.m. the town was encircled, but it was only at 4.00 p.m. that the first troops of the Rifle Brigade’s 4th battalion managed to enter the town by using a – now legendary – ladder to scale the walls. Half an hour later, the 2nd battalion broke through enemy defences at the Porte de Valenciennes and also entered the town.

The 2nd Brigade was in action again the next day, fighting in and around the Mormal forest in what would be the last battle fought by the New Zealand Division in the First World War.

The Battle of Le Quesnoy is an important chapter in the history of New Zealand, the smallest and youngest nation to take part in the Great War, and also in that of Le Quesnoy and the Avesnois region.

 

 

 

 

Control of Regimental Sergeant Major of the Maori Pioneer Battalion found in Quesnoy.

 

 

 

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