Sunday, 11 October 2015

12 October 1917 - New Zealand Blackest Day in their history

During October 1917 four ANZAC Divisions are at the centre of the major thrust in the Battle of Passchendaele. One of these, the New Zealand Division, is to provide central flanking support by seizing ‘s Graventafel Spur on 4 October. It is a formidable task requiring the men to advance up open slopes, all of which are comprehensively covered by a mixture of mutually supporting German pillboxes as well as isolated machine-gun groups posted in shell holes and protected by barbed wire. The New Zealand attack advances the line by more than 3,000 metres. The Division suffers 1,653 casualties including 330 fatalities.


On 12 October 1917 the New Zealand Division launches an attack through deep mud, heavy rain and strong winds to take the village of Passchendaele. Concrete pillboxes, machine guns and deep belts of barbed wire protect the German positions. The result is 2,700 casualties, including 846 dead in less than four hours. 12 October 1917 remains the most tragic day in New Zealands history. 
The Newlove Brother, Edwin and Malcolm KIA 12 Oct 17, Leonard, Charles KIA a week earlier!

 On 4 October  2015 there was a ceremony at 's Graventafel and near Belle Vue spur to commemorate these 2 battles and the ultimate sacrifice of so many young New Zelanders. (see earlier post in this blog). The Chief of Army, the Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage, the Ambassador, the ATTAMIL for Belgium and France and the Army Adviser from the High Commision in London have been leading the ceremony. The Defence Blacks who played a rugby game against the Belgian National team the day before was standing as Guard of Honour.

“No Division in France built up for itself a finer reputation, whether for the gallantry of its conduct in battle, or for the excellence of its behaviour out of the line”
Field Marshal Earl Haig, British Commander in Chief

1 comment:

  1. We will not forget!
    Marc (age 54) - Belgium