VISITING LE QUESNOY
"The nights were chilly and the early mornings
often misty, but when the sun burst through it shone
glorious and warm. The part of the country which we had now
reached was exquisitely beautiful. It was mostly rolling,
cultivated down-land, dotted over with many orchards, and
the copses about the villages shone in all their autumn
glory. Before us were the ancient walls and tall buildings
of Le Quesnoy, seemingly untouched by the devastating
engines of war."
Lieut.-Col. W. S. Austin, The Official
History of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade, L. T. Watkins
Ltd., 1924, Wellington
historical town of Le Quesnoy dates back to the 12th
Century, when a wealthy Comte was attracted to the area's rich countryside, forest and good hunting. Its border
location meant the town was often under siege and
fortifications were gradually erected. The town was Spanish
for over 100 years,
and only became French in
the mid 17th Century. Shortly afterwards the
current fortifications were built by Vauban, an important
military engineer and politician.
A large part
of the fortifications still exist and have been carefully
trail passes through them and will take you past the New
Zealand Memorial Plaque.
walk around Le Quesnoy you will discover other signs of New
Zealand including the “Oak and Fern” memorial garden and the
Dr Colin Averill
primary school. Several roads in Le Quesnoy have been
renamed to mark the NZ connection and a Maori giant stands in the Town Hall alongside
his French friend Bimberlot.
The town serves as a hub and market town for the 27 surrounding
villages, many of which are worth a visit too.
played an important role in the events of November 1918.
Local farms, including the Pont à Pierre farm, were used by
the NZ troops as headquarters and a field hospital. A battle
took place in the centre of the village – where bullet holes
can be seen to this day in the walls of the church! The
main square in front of the church is called La Place du
VC - MM, whose statue stands in Christchurch, fought and
died in Beaudignies. A road has recently been renamed in his
honour. He is buried in nearby Vertigneul.
beautiful countryside, the 12th Century
was used by NZ officers after the war. (Not open to the
Near Le Quesnoy :