NZ'S FIRST WORLD WAR CENTENARY 2014–2019

Battle of the Somme Centenary

There are three commemorative services on 15 September 2016 in Longueval, France, to mark New Zealand's involvement in the Battle of the Somme.

Road closures and security

Due to the heightened security measures in France, special procedures will be in place on Thursday 15 September in and around Longueval.  Road access into Longueval will be by one road only, the D20 from Guillemont to Longueval – see attached map (PDF, 2.1 MB).  All other surrounding roads will close at 6am and not reopen until mid-afternoon.  

Dawn Service at the New Zealand Battlefield Memorial, Longueval

Attendees must meet at the town centre of Longueval by 6:15am

This service involves a 1.2km walk to the Memorial commencing at 6:30am. Attendees arriving later than 6:30am will not be able to attend the Dawn Service.

Note: vehicles will not be permitted into Longueval after 6:00am. Please allow at least 20 minutes to walk this distance. Transport to the Memorial will only be provided for persons with reduced mobility..

There will be limited seating at this service and attendees must be prepared to stand for one hour.

At the conclusion of the Dawn Service, attendees will walk back to Longueval. Transport will be provided for those unable to walk this distance.

At 8.15am, a French wreathlaying ceremony will take place at the Monument aux Morts, Longueval, followed by a light breakfast in the Longueval community hall at 8.30am. Attendees are welcome to attend the community breakfast.

 

New Zealand National Service

Please note that security screening will be in place for this service. Attendees will clear security then be shuttled to Caterpillar Valley Cemetery in buses.

Parking on the D20 close to Longueval will be available. Cars will not be permitted into Longueval itself. There is a 10 minute walk from the parking point into Longueval where a compulsory security screening point will be in place beside the church. 

NOTE: the security screening window is 8:00am-10:00am. There is strictly no admittance after this time, nor will access be possible to Caterpillar Valley Cemetery by foot or personal vehicle.

Prohibited items will be removed from you at the security screening point. Download the Prohibited Items List (PDF, 119 KB).

Once you have passed security and received your wristband, you will be transferred to Caterpillar Valley Cemetery by bus.  

National service commences: 11.00am

There will be limited seating at this service and attendees must be prepared to stand for at least one hour.

At the conclusion of the service, attendees will be shuttled back to the security point in buses.

 

Sunset Ceremony at the New Zealand Battlefield Memorial

Attendees need to gather in the Longueval town centre no later than 7:00pm. A bus will take people to and from the Memorial. 

Note: vehicles will not be permitted along the road to the Memorial except to assist persons with reduced mobility. 

This ceremony will conclude New Zealand's commemorations and will include the Last Post ceremony and elements of a Ceremony of Beating Retreat.

At the conclusion of this service, attendees will be shuttled back to Longueval.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Plan your trip

The Ngā Tapuwae First World War Trails website and app can help you plan your trip. Visit the website and download the app from Apple App Store or Google Play.

Further information can can found on the New Zealand Embassy Paris website and Facebook page.

How long are the Battle of the Somme centenary services?

The services are no longer than one hour. The services comprise historical readings, the playing of the Last Post, recitation of the Ode, the lowering of national flags, and the singing of national anthems.

Do I have to register to attend the services?

You do not have to register to attend these services. Some details of the services may change so please keep checking this page for updates. We recommend you register with SafeTravel which provides official travel advice for New Zealanders travelling overseas.

Can I reserve seating at these services?

No, you should be able to stand for at least one hour during the services which are held in a grassed areas.

What amenities are available?

There will be limited amenities at the service including portable toilet facilities.

What items are not allowed at the services?

Any items that may interfere with the experience of other attendees and/or disrupt the solemnity of the services. Items such as selfie sticks or large camera tripods and large banners or flags should not be brought into the service.

Prohibited items will be removed from you at the security screening point. Download the Prohibited Items List (PDF, 119 KB).

How accessible are the sites of the services?

Visit the Caterpillar Valley Cemetery information page on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s website for accessibility information.There is no parking on the site.

Security screening will be in place for the New Zealand National Commemoration at Caterpillar Valley Cemetery and a shuttle service will be provided to and from Longueval to Caterpillar Valley Cemetery.

A return shuttle service will also be provided to the Sunset Ceremony at the New Zealand Battlefield Memorial. Attendees will not be able to walk from longueval to the Sunset Ceremony at the New Zealand Battlefield Memorial.

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