When: 4 November 2018 Time: 11am
The Battle of Le Quesnoy in northern France on 4 November 1918 was one of New Zealand’s most important victories, but also the last. A few days after the liberation of the town, the Armistice ending the First World War was signed in Compiegne, France. The liberation of Le Quesnoy is still anchored in the memory of New Zealanders and the people of the town.
The official commemoration to mark the centenary of the liberation of Le Quesnoy by the New Zealand Division will be held in the township on 4 November 2018. Organised in conjunction with the New Zealand Embassy Paris and the New Zealand Defence Force. Public welcome.
The centenary will be also commemorated through a series of events leading up to 4 November and culminating in Armistice Day 2018 (details of the events are included in the FAQs below).
Frequently Asked Questions
The New Zealand Battlefield Memorial on the ramparts of Le Quesnoy will be the focus of the National Commemorative Service at 11.00 am on 4 November 2018. This area has extremely limited capacity and access will be restricted to invited representatives of groups attending the commemoration.
For safety reasons, the ramparts above the New Zealand Battlefield Memorial will not be accessible to the public.
The Cambridge Garden Marquee, 400 metres from the New Zealand Battlefield Memorial site, is where the majority of the attendees will be seated. The Marquee will be heated and with access to nearby portable toilets. The service will be live-streamed onto two large screens within the Marquee.
A pre-commemoration programme is planned for the Cambridge Garden Marquee including reflective musical performances and an address from senior government representatives from New Zealand and France.
At the conclusion of the National Commemorative Service, Cambridge Garden Marquee attendees and people viewing the service from in or outside Notre Dame de l’Assomption church will be able to visit the New Zealand Battlefield site to lay their own floral tributes. The New Zealand Defence Force Band and Māori Cultural Group will remain at the New Zealand Battlefield Memorial to provide music during the laying of floral tributes. The New Zealand Defence Force photographer will take photos of the public wreathlaying. These photos will be available on the New Zealand Embassy Paris Facebook page in the week following the commemorations.
The service will also be live-streamed to screens in and outside the nearby Notre Dame de l’Assomption church in Le Quesnoy.
You will be able to lay personal floral tributes at the New Zealand Battlefield Memorial after the National Commemorative Service has concluded.
You will have to take your floral tribute with you to the site from which you will view the National Commemorative Service.
Yes, if you remain in the church and watch the live stream on the big screens installed there. Because of security measures, there will be insufficient time however to move from the church at the conclusion of mass to the New Zealand Battlefield Memorial site (for those with invitations) or the Cambridge Garden Marquee.
The New Zealand Defence Force will conduct a Last Post Ceremony at the New Zealand Battlefield Memorial site at 5.00 pm.
There are no restrictions on attendance. There will be no seating and views will be limited depending on attendance numbers. For safety reasons, the ramparts above the New Zealand Battlefield Memorial will not be accessible to the public.
The New Zealand Government-led commemorations to mark the 100th anniversary of the liberation of Le Quesnoy are open to all wishing to mark New Zealand’s involvement in the action.
Registration is not necessary however seating in the Cambridge Garden Marquee is limited. Once the Marquee is full, visitors will be directed to the Notre Dame de l’Assomption church where the ceremony will also be live-streamed.
For logistics reasons, the New Zealand Defence Force is interested to know of any groups planning on attending. If you are the lead representative of a large group, please email [email protected]
Weather in Northern France in November is cold (average temperature of 6.3°C and low of 3.4°C) with rain one day out of three. Warm clothing layers, wet weather clothing and sensible footwear are essential. Pathways may become muddy and slippery.
Please see the Security section of the FAQs about prohibited items.
No buses or self-drive vehicles will be permitted into the centre of Le Quesnoy on 3 and 4 November.
Buses must park at the SNCF train station (Gare du Quesnoy, Place de la Gare). Cars will also be able to park here. From the Gare du Quesnoy, it is approximately 10 minutes’ walk to the Porte du Chateau security screening point.
Car parking is also available at:
- Centre Lowendal sports complex, Rue Juhel (approximately 8 minutes’ walk to Porte du Chateau)
- Lycée et Collège Eugène Thomas school, 100 avenue Léo Lagrange (approximately 15 minutes’ walk to Porte du Chateau)
- Cité Déchainé Base de Loisirs (leisure park), chemin de Ghissignies (approximately 12 minutes’ walk to the Porte du Château
No buses or self-drive vehicles will be permitted into the centre of Le Quesnoy on 3 and 4 November. Please see Parking FAQ.
All attendees will have to pass through security screening to attend the 11.00 am National Comemmorative Service at the New Zealand Memorial site or the Cambridge Garden Marquee.
For safety reasons, the ramparts above the New Zealand Battlefield Memorial will not be accessible to the public during the New Zealand ceremonies.
The Porte du Chateau security screening point will open at 9.00 am. Please make sure you pass the security screening point by 10.20 am.
Security screening will close at 10.30 am. There will be strictly no admissions to the New Zealand Memorial site or the Cambridge Garden Marquee after 10.30am.
Are there any prohibited items?
The following items are prohibited and will be confiscated at security screening:
- Dangerous or hazardous items
- Advertising or marketing messages
- Large backpacks or luggage (day packs are ok)
- Weapons or sharp objects
- Large objects (e.g. chairs, musical instruments)
- Hiking/walking sticks or poles that do not fold down/telescope (medical and mobility aids such as walkers, walking sticks.
- Wheelchairs will be permitted but cannot access the New Zealand Memorial site
- Large/oversized flags or banners
- Professional photographic or recording equipment (including telescopic zoom lenses, audio visual or cinematographic devices apart from accredited media)
- ‘Selfie’ sticks and large camera tripods
- Drones and remote control devices
Portable toilets will be available within the Cambridge Garden Marquee precinct.
Water and food will be available for purchase within the town. A map with a list of food outlets and shops open on Sunday 4 November will be available.
Visitors travelling on New Zealand passports do not need a visa to enter France, as long as the intended stay is less than 3 months, the purpose is to visit, and the holder has a return ticket. Visitors travelling on other passports should check with the French Embassy Visa Service as to whether they require a visa.
Passports must have an expiration date of at least 60 days beyond the return date on their ticket, or where applicable, the expiration of their visa, visa exemption or residence permit.
Travel insurance is a must-have for overseas travel, so make sure that you have organised a comprehensive travel insurance policy before you leave New Zealand or your home location. Overseas medical care and repatriation is very expensive. If something unexpected happens and you don’t have the appropriate travel insurance, you are personally liable for all costs. Your insurance policy should cover provision for medical evacuation by air.
Make sure your insurance covers all the activities you will be undertaking and any pre-existing medical conditions. It’s important to be clear about what is covered under your policy; if in doubt, please talk to your insurer.
Before you leave your home location you are encouraged to register your travel details on the SafeTravel website. Registration means that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade can keep you updated with travel advisory information, and can contact you and account for your well-being in an emergency.
The Safe Travel website provides travel advice for France. It is recommended that all New Zealanders travelling to France read and monitor this advice.
- Friday 26 October 26 at 7pm: «Apollinaire, a poet in the Great War» lecture by Paul Raoult, honorary Senator and town councillor at Le Quesnoy. Venue: Salon d’Honneur, Hotel de Ville Le Quesnoy. With the support of the Le Quesnoy-New Zealand Association. Entrance: free.
- 1-15 November: «Le Quesnoy 14-18: men, soldiers, a souvenir» exhibition presented by Gregory Chermeux, a local passionate about genealogy. Venue: La Maison Quercitaine de Nouvelle-Zélande, rue Thiers, Le Quesnoy. Official opening 31 October at 7pm. Hours: 1 November 10am-12pm/3-6pm. 4 November: 9am-10.30am/3-6pm. 8 November: 2-6pm. 11 November: 9am-10.30am/3-6pm. 5, 12 & 15 November: 10am-12pm/2-6pm. Entrance: free.
- Friday 2 and Saturday 3 November: «France and New Zealand during the Great War» symposium organised by the town of Le Quesnoy and the University of Waikato. Simultaneous translation (Eng/Fr). Venue: Théâtre des 3 Chênes. Friday: 9am-12.30pm/2-6pm. Saturday: 9am-12.30pm. Price: 30€ (meal not included). Reservations by 20 October to [email protected] or tel: +33 (0)3 27 47 55 53.
- Saturday 3 November at 5:30pm: «The Ladder - Heritage trail 1918-2018» itinerant performance by the Théâtre du Bimberlot company. Two performances: 5.30pm and 6.45pm. Rendezvous 15 minutes prior at the Théâtre des 3 Chênes. Duration: 1h30. Note: this event is both indoors and outdoors and includes some walking. Reservations: [email protected] or tel: +33 (0)3 27 47 55 53.
- Sunday 4 November at 9.30am: remembrance mass at the church of Notre Dame de l’Assomption. Includes a performance by Voice of New Zealand choir. Entrance: free.
- Sunday 4 November at 11am: official commemoration to mark the centenary of the liberation of Le Quesnoy by the New Zealand Division. Organised in conjunction with the New Zealand Embassy Paris and the New Zealand Defence Force. Public welcome. Further details will be available by mid-2018.
- Sunday 4 November at 3.30pm: dedication ceremony for a museum project and unveiling of ‘Victory Medal’ commemorative sculpture by New Zealand artist, Helen Pollock. Venue: 7-9 rue Achille Carlier. Entrance: free.
- Sunday 4 November at 3pm: «Remembrance Day» guided tour in French & English. A 1.5km circuit suitable for families and school children. Duration: 1h30. Price: 3€ per person. Reservations: [email protected] or through the Le Quesnoy Tourism Office tel: +33 (0)3 27 20 54 70.
- Wednesday 7 November at 8pm: «Music from the other side of the world» concert honouring the twin towns. With the Cambridge Brass Band and the municipal harmony of Le Quesnoy. Duration: 1h30. Venue: Théâtre des 3 Chênes. Entrance: free.
- Sunday 11 November 11 at 11am: official centenary commemoration of the Armistice. Organised by the town of Le Quesnoy. Rendezvous: place Leclerc.
- Sunday 11 November 11: «Remembrance Day» guided tour in French & English. A 1.5km circuit suitable for families and school children. Duration: 1h30. Price: 3€ per person. Reservations: [email protected] or through the Le Quesnoy Tourism Office tel: +33 (0)3 27 20 54 70.