Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Many people will be observing two minutes’ silence in New Zealand at 12.51 (our time 00.51) on Wednesday 22 February to honor those lost in the 22 February earthquake in and near Christchurch.  You are welcome to join them.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Important Visitors from New Zealand in the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917

A New Zealand delegation lead by Minister of Defence, the Honourable Dr Jonathan Coleman and includes Chief of Defence Force, Lt Gen R. R. (Rhys) Jones; Secretary of Defence, John McKinnon; and New Zealand's Ambassador to the European Union and Belgium, Vangelis Vitalis was visiting the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 today. They were hosted by the Mayor Dir Cardoen, Deputy Mayor Franky Bryon and Executive Officer Francis Claeys. Prof Christopher Pugsley was guiding the group for a battlefield tour in the trail of the New Zealand soldiers during WWI.

a Minister in the frontline!

Chief of Defence Force, Lt Gen R. R. (Rhys) Jones and Prof Chris Pugsley talking with one of the Belgians. The Minister is listening.

afternoon thea
Minister of Defence, the Honourable Dr Jonathan Coleman
With New Zealand's Ambassador to the European Union and Belgium, Vangelis Vitalis on his left.
They were all very interested in the museum and our projects!

Minister of Defense, the Honourable Dr Jonathan Coleman in the middle, Chief of Defense Force, Lt Gen R. R. (Rhys) Jones on the right and Secretary of Defense, John McKinnon on the left

Snow over an Unknown Soldiers Grave

This morning, one of our Passchendaele Society Volunteers, Freddy L. went to Messines Ridge Cemetery to take this picture of the Unknown Soldier from the Rifle Brigade who was reburied yesterday.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Reburial of a an unknown New Zealand soldier today

Today, it was a cold and freezing day. An unknown New Zealand Soldier from the Rifle Brigade, about 25 years old and 1,70 m tall has been buried after being discovered last year.
The New Zealand government did what they could do to identify this young man who was killed here about 95 years ago in the Battle of Messines, the prologue of the Battle of Passchendaele.

you can click  on the picture to enlarge and see the wreath of Waimakariri. Waimakariri was represented by her twin town Zonnebeke.

Both New Zealand and Belgian dignitaries attended the ceremony as well as people from Passchendaele, Ypres, Comines-Warneton and even friends of New Zealand from France!

Prof. Chris Pugsley was given interpretation about the circumstances if his dead on the 7th of June 1917.
the Mayor of Zonnebeke after the wreath laying. on the left the NZ Minister of Defence, ont he right the Flemish Minister of Tourism.

His final resting place.

Amongst the dignitaries also Michèle Hostekint , the grand granddaughter of an unknown NZ soldier. We are doing research to find his name since last year on Anzac day (see http://thebelgianshavenotforgotten.blogspot.com/2011/04/special-request-for-anzac-week.html )

She's flanked by the Province Commander, the Governor of West-Flanders and the Mayor of Messines.

The Chief of the New Zealand Defence Forces, Lt Gen. Rhys Jones.

the catafalk party
the Belgian firing squad from the Competence Center Material and Products in Ieper/Ypres.

The NZ Minister of Defense and one of the Belgians paying their respect to the Unknown Rifle Brigade Soldier ( RSA poppy )

His grave.

Volunteers of the Passchendaele Society put some flax crosses from the Dolores project on the gravestones.

It was a moving, beautiful and very special reburial service.
Lest we forget.
see also National television Belgium: http://www.deredactie.be/permalink/1.1211727
see also 3 news (NZ news)
and TV NZ
see also local Flemish TV: http://www.focus-wtv.tv/video/soldaat-herbegraven-mesen