western front

Events In History

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New Zealand and Le Quesnoy

  • New Zealand and Le Quesnoy

    It was the New Zealand Division's final action of the First World War. On 4 November 1918, just a week before the Armistice was signed, New Zealand troops stormed the walled French town of Le Quesnoy. The 90 men killed were among the last of the 12,483 who fell on the Western Front.

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  • Page 2 – The liberation of Le Quesnoy

    The capture of the French town of Le Quesnoy by the New Zealand Division on 4 November 1918 has special significance in New Zealand's military history.

  • Page 3 – Visiting Le Quesnoy

    Just 4 kilometres east of Beaudignies in northern France is Le Quesnoy. This town was in German hands for almost all of the First World War, from August 1914, until the New

  • Page 4 – Battle accounts, Lieutenant Averill

    Leslie Cecil Lloyd Averill is best remembered for his exploits during the liberation of Le Quesnoy on 4 November 1918.

  • Page 5 – Battle accounts, Private Nimmo

    Captain James Matheson Nimmo joined 3rd Battalion, 3rd New Zealand (Rifle) Brigade on 27 September 1918.

Battle of the Somme

  • Battle of the Somme

    A truly nightmarish world greeted the New Zealand Division when it joined the Battle of the Somme in mid-September 1916. Fifteen thousand men of the Division went into action. Nearly 6000 were wounded and 2000 lost their lives. Over half the New Zealand Somme dead have no known grave.

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  • Page 2 – Overview

    'Somme. The whole history of the world cannot contain a more gruesome word.' This is how one German officer described the Battle of the Somme in 1916. It was here that, day

  • Page 3 – New Zealand's Somme experience

    It was on the Somme that the majority of New Zealanders were killed or wounded during the First World War, and it was here that New Zealand experienced its worst days in

  • Page 4 – Men and machines

    By the time of the Somme offensive of 1916, the Great War had become shaped by artillery. Villages, woods and fields were reduced to drab wilderness by relentless shellfire and

  • Page 5 – New Zealand artillery on the Somme

    The Great War was halfway through when the big guns roared into life along the New Zealand Division's sector on the Somme in support of a major attack on 15 September 1916.

The Arras tunnels

  • The Arras tunnels

    During the First World War the men of the New Zealand Tunnelling Company, many of them hardbitten West Coast miners, helped create a vast network of military tunnels under the French town of Arras.

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  • Page 2 – The New Zealand Tunnelling Company

    With both the Allies and the Germans trying to tunnel under each other's lines to lay mines, the New Zealand Tunnelling Company's experience was invaluable.

British Empire

Pacific Islanders in the NZEF

  • Pacific Islanders in the NZEF

    Cook Islanders, Niueans, Fijians and Gilbert Islanders all took their place in the ranks of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force during the First World War. As well as the dangers of war, Pacific soldiers faced language difficulties, an unfamiliar army diet and European diseases.

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  • Page 2 - Niueans and Cook IslandersInformation about Niuean and Cook Island soldiers who were part of the 3rd Maori Contingent of Reinforcements in

First World War - overview

  • First World War - overview

    Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and his wife Sophie were assassinated in the Bosnian city of Sarajevo. This was a key event in sparking the Great War of 1914–18.

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  • Page 4 - New Zealand goes to warBefore the outbreak of war, Prime Minister W.F. Massey had made it clear that New Zealand’s main contribution would be supplying troops to the major theatre of conflict. But

Maori units of the NZEF

  • Maori units of the NZEF

    Over 2000 Maori served in the Native Contingent and Pioneer Battalion during the First World War

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  • Page 4 - On the Western FrontThe New Zealand Pioneer Battalion arrived in France in April 1916. It was the first unit of the New Zealand Division to move on to the bloody battlefield of the

Passchendaele: fighting for Belgium

  • Passchendaele: fighting for Belgium

    Ever since 1917 Passchendaele has been a byword for the horror of the First World War. The assault on this tiny Belgian village cost the lives of thousands of New Zealand soldiers. But its impact reached far beyond the battlefield, leaving deep scars on many New Zealand communities and families.

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  • Page 3 – The Passchendaele offensive

    The failed attempt to capture the town of Passchendaele saw more New Zealanders killed in one day than in any other military campaign since 1840.

  • Page 4 – After Passchendaele

    Military events in Belgium after the Passchendaele offensive of October 1917, including the failed attack at Polderhoek

Western Front in 1918

  • Western Front in 1918

    In 1918, a series of major German and Allied offensives broke the stalemate of trench warfare on the Western Front, resulting in the collapse of the German Army and the end of the war within the year. New Zealand units played an important part in the Allies' final push for victory.

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  • Page 1 - 1918: Amiens, Bapaume and victory - Western Front campaignIn 1918, a series of major German and Allied offensives broke the stalemate of trench warfare on the Western Front, resulting in the collapse of the German Army and the end of the

NZ's First World War horses

  • NZ's First World War horses

    Between 1914 and 1916 the New Zealand government acquired more than 10,000 horses to equip the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. They served in German Samoa, Gallipoli, the Middle East and on the Western Front. Of those that survived the war, only four returned home.

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  • Page 7 - Western FrontMore than 3000 horses and mules went from Egypt to France with the New Zealand Division in April 1916. Most of these horses had probably come from New Zealand

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