Timaru District Council donates $10,000 towards Le Quesnoy museum

The Timaru District Council will donate $10,000 towards the construction of a New Zealand war memorial museum in Le Quesnoy, France.

The museum will commemorate the contributions New Zealand made in Europe in World Wars I and II.

Le Quesnoy holds an important place in New Zealand WWI history. Just a week before the end of World War I, in November 1918, the New Zealand Division captured the French town - the New Zealanders' last major action in the war.

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Source: Stuff..co.nz

Date published: Nov 29, 2018.

Daisy Conroy-Botica

Le Quesnoy liberation celebrations get under way in Cambridge

The 100th anniversary of the liberation of Le Quesnoy in World War I was marked in Cambridge with a special remembrance of light, song, sounds, art and celebration.

It saw Cambridge Town Hall's front transformed into a temporary movie screen as a giant projector showed a 3½-minute long movie using footage of WWI.

The text from a book written by Massey University war studies professor Glyn Harper on Le Quesnoy's liberation and was narrated by a 13-year-old French girl.

The 100th anniversary of the liberation of Le Quesnoy was marked in Cambridge with the town hall turned into a projector screen.

"It's the story of Le Quesnoy told from a young girl's perspective so her voice will play and we'll have scenes playing on the wall that are relevant to the text at the time," Armistice Cambridge committee chairman Paul Watkins said.

It will run every night until the weekend.

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Source: Stuff..co.nz

Date published: Nov 06 2018.

Daisy Conroy-Botica

'Our second home': Hundreds of Kiwis commemorate Le Quesnoy WWI victory

Hundreds of Kiwis have flooded into a small town in northern France to commemorate one of New Zealand's finest moments of the First World War. 

It's been exactly 100 years since Kiwi soldiers cunningly snuck into Le Quesnoy defeated the Germans, and liberated thousands of local residents. 

All 42 of descendants of Leslie Averill - the first New Zealand soldier to climb this very wall, and liberate the town of Le Quesnoy are there for the commemorations. 

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Source: NewsHub

Date published: 5 Nov, 2018

Daisy Conroy-Botica

Drama at Le Quesnoy

London, November 6: The storming of Le Quesnoy was a most dramatic episode. The old town, with ancient ramparts, has been often besieged, but never saw harder fighting than the New Zealanders made yesterday.

The New Zealanders were just westward of the fortifications. A division on the right was held up by machine-guns in the chapel, until five tanks reduced them. Bombardments against the garrison failed to dislodge them. The New Zealanders tried to take Le Quesnoy by a frontal attack, and reached the outer ramparts, but were held up by machine-guns.

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Source: OtagoDailyTimes

Date published: 8 Nov, 2018

Daisy Conroy-Botica

Thousands turn out to mark centenary of New Zealand liberation of French town Le Quesnoy.

Peter Barrowclough, whose great uncle Lieutenant Colonel Harold Barrowclough was the commanding officer of the 4th Battalion, made a last-minute dash to Europe for the centenary commemorations.

"It is incredible to be here today as the only member of my family, I feel so privileged."

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Source: NZHerald

Date published: 5 Nov, 2018

Daisy Conroy-Botica

NZ War Memorial Museum in Europe Receives NZ Government’s Support

The decision by the New Zealand government to support a NZ War Memorial Museum in Le Quesnoy – France has been warmly welcomed by the project’s trustees.

Cabinet has agreed to grant overseas donee status to the New Zealand Memorial Museum Trust, marking the centenary of the liberation of Le Quesnoy by New Zealand troops. This means donations given to the Trust by businesses and individuals will be eligible for a tax rebate, in line with its charitable status.

New Zealand Memorial Museum Trust chairman, Sir Don McKinnon, says the government’s decision will have a significant positive impact.

“I thank Cabinet for providing this statutory basis in the Annual Income Tax Bill, thereby allowing tax rebatibility to donors.

“We can now move ahead apace and seek the support the Trust needs to establish a permanent memorial to the more than New Zealand 20,000 men and women who fought and died in Europe across the two World Wars.

“I ask every New Zealander to acknowledge our history and show their respect to our fallen men and women and invest in a place of pilgrimage in Europe by supporting the Museum.”

The Memorial Museum Trust, Le Quesnoy purchased the former town mayor’s residence in 2017. When complete, there will be a total of 1000sqm of exhibition space, with separate levels dedicated to WW1 and WW2, the air battle over Europe in WW2, the tunnellers’ work in WW1, and a research centre.

The Trust is seeking $15 million to complete the refurbishment of the 19th Century residence and nine maisonettes for visitor accommodation and office space, build a new annex and landscape the existing site.

The project has already received more than $1.5 million from a number of New Zealand organisations and individuals.

Deputy Prime Minister, Winston Peters said in the government’s statement: “The First World War saw more than 18,000 New Zealand service men and women lose their lives. This museum is a way to raise awareness of New Zealand’s participation, contribution and sacrifice.”

 Revenue Minister Stuart Nash said “the tax credit will help the fundraising of the Museum project, in remembrance of those brave men who fought so long ago.”

The Museum will be located in Le Quesnoy, a small fortified town in northern France that New Zealanders alone freed from German occupation on 4 November 1918 with no loss of civilian lives. 142 Kiwi soldiers were killed.


The citizens of Le Quesnoy remember the liberation of their town by New Zealanders to this day – with streets and parks named after us and even a song about us Le Liberators.

Donee status will be apply for all donation made from 1 April, 2018 onwards.


Images: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/5hbq3uev39aslmx/AACyzjOzoilFS_jkyu1EQYiea?dl=0


The Dedication Ceremony for the NZ War Memorial Museum will take place at the former Mayoral residence on 4 November 2018, 3.30pm – 4.30pm; 7-9 rue Archille Carlier, 59530, Le Quesnoy, Nord, France


For interview opportunities please contact: Penny Hartill, Hartill PR, +64 (0)21 721 424, penny@hartillpr.co.nz



Editor’s Notes


The New Zealand Memorial Museum Trust is raising funds to repurpose the historic former Mayor’s residence in Le Quesnoy, France, which has been the headquarters for the local Gendarmerie since 1952. The Mayor and Town Council of Le Quesnoy are providing their full support to the project.


The site will be developed to include upgraded accommodation for visitors and a new annex. Together, the historic building and annex will form a museum that will tell the soldiers’ extraordinary stories and exhibit educational and interactive historic collections from both World Wars.


The Trustees are: Rt. Hon. Sir Don McKinnon (chair), Mark Hall, Brett Hewson,  Buddy Mikaere, Greg Moyle (Maj. Rtd),  Rt. Hon. Sir Lockwood Smith and Michele Whitecliffe. Patron: Rt. Hon. Helen Clark. Founder and general secretary: Herb Farrant. Friends Emeritus of Le Quesnoy: Dame Jenny Gibbs, Rt. Hon. Lt. Gen. Sir Jerry Mateparae and Rt. Hon. Sir Anand Satyanand.

Daisy Conroy-Botica

Son of WWI veteran who helped liberate Le Quesnoy recalls haunting tale and the effect it had on dad

Not many people can say their dad fought on the Western Front.

Fewer still can say their dad took part in the liberation of the French village of Le Quesnoy - a distinctly Kiwi engagement holding a prominent position in the nation's war lexicon.

The 81-year-old son of John Joseph McCall says his dad didn't talk much about his war experience before dying at the age of 70 in 1961. In fact he can only recall him talking about the war on two or three occasions.

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Source: Stuff.co.nz

Date published: Nov 02, 2018

Daisy Conroy-Botica

Greg Moyle: A museum at Le Quesnoy will remember our war contribution.

Why do we need or want a New Zealand war memorial museum at Le Quesnoy, France?

The answer is not simply because there is not a New Zealand war memorial museum in France and Belgium telling the story of the 70,000 who served there between 1916 and 1918, and the 12,500 who did not return home, although this is obvious to those of us who have visited the World War I battlefields in on the Western Front.

Traditionally, the rite of passage for many New Zealanders travelling in Europe is to visit Gallipoli in Turkey. While Gallipoli is important as the location of the first major military action by New Zealanders in WWI, far more New Zealanders fought on the Western Front.

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Source: NZHerald

Date published: 30 Oct, 2018 

Daisy Conroy-Botica

The Liberation of Le Quesnoy: First man over the wall - How Kiwi soldiers rescued French town in WWI

All the officers in his company had been killed or wounded. All of them. He was the last one standing. And when he went to see how 2nd Battalion had fared, he discovered that every one of their officers were killed including, to his horror, his best friend Paul Clark.

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Source: NZHerald

Date published: 31 Oct, 2018

Daisy Conroy-Botica

The Liberation of Le Quesnoy: How New Zealand soldiers saved a French town in World War I

On November 4 in 1918, New Zealand soldiers liberated the small French town of Le Quesnoy. We look at this little known part of our history and the links that endure 100 years on. Le Quesnoy. You probably look at this word and wonder how to say it, let alone where it is and why it should have any significance to you as a New Zealander. But it should be in your lexicon and here's why.

The New Zealand Division, on their own, liberated this occupied town in World War I without any loss of life to the French civilian population, and they did so in a very unusual manner, just a week before the end of the war.

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Source: NZHerald

Date published: 29 Oct, 2018

Daisy Conroy-Botica

Memorial to NZ soldiers to be built at Le Quesnoy

The site of the first and only permanent commemoration of New Zealand's part in the Western Front battles of World War 1 will be unveiled next week, in the medieval town of Le Quesnoy.

The New Zealand War Memorial Museum Trust has bought the former mayor's residence for 600,000 ($NZ1.046million) - around half its market value - and will now raise funds to transform the three-storey building and surrounding land into a memorial museum.

New Zealand is the sole country among the major Commonwealth nations not to have a permanent memorial amid the 1914-18 battlefields of France and Belgium.

"The idea was to make sure there was a place New Zealanders could call their own when they visited the Western Front,'' trust chairman Sir Don McKinnon said.

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Source: Otago Daily Times

Date published: 30 Oct. 2018

Daisy Conroy-Botica