the battle of Le Quesnoy centenary

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This Sunday is the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Le Quesnoy, in France, a week before the end of WW1.

New Zealand soldiers recaptured the town from German occupation, climbing the walls with a ladder to avoid civilian casualties.

My great granduncle Victor Bernard was one of over 100 New Zealanders killed there that day, so I’ve been reminded of him.

Victor Bernard

He was in New Zealand’s first and last actions of the war, in Samoa, and at Le Quesnoy. He was one of the best & brightest in the family – good at rugby, first to get a white collar job, who rose from Private to 2nd Lieutenant in the NZ Rifle Brigade… and like too many young men died in war.

He’d survived two previous tours of duty and been home to New Zealand, but died on 4th of November 1918. There was only a week to go until the armistice.

On Friday I visited the Office of the Auditor General in Wellington, and saw his name on their memorial board. It’s over 100 years old.

What to say, a century later?

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