Just a week before the end of the First World War in November 1918, the New Zealand Division captured the French town of Le Quesnoy. It was the New Zealanders' last major action in the war. To this day, the town of Le Quesnoy continues to mark the important role that New Zealand played in its history. Streets are named after New Zealand places, there is a New Zealand memorial and a primary school bears the name of a New Zealand soldier. Visiting New Zealanders are sure to receive a warm welcome from the locals.
The Germans held Le Quesnoy for almost the entire war, from August 1914 through to its dramatic liberation on 4 November 1918. The New Zealanders scaled the ladders they set against the ancient walls of the town and took the remaining Germans as prisoners. The liberation of Le Quesnoy was just one of the many campaigns that New Zealanders fought on the Western Front, the line that stretched across northern France and Belgium. The majority of New Zealanders killed in the First World War lost their lives in the battles that raged there from 1916 to 1918. Around 12,000 New Zealanders died on the Western Front in two and a half years fighting; this was more than in the entire Second World War.