Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Reburial Unknown Soldier 07/03/2017

Today was the reburial of an unknown New Zealand soldier on Perth Cemetery (China Wall).

The NZ Division came in the Polygon Wood sector on 4 Nov 1917 and would stay there until the end of February 1918. Most of the time they were working at the defensive systems (trenches, duckboards, cabling, wiring,…). 

There was one major attack on Polderhoek Chateau (3 December 1917). 
the red line is approx. the Wulvestraat. the red dot is Polderhoek Chateau. the orange dotted line is the front line before the attack, the green dotted line is the front line after the attack on 3 December.

The black line shows he frontline, part of the Wulvestraat was a track in WWI (towards the Tower)

Sometimes there were also raids, most of the time during night time. The NZ Division lost about 3,000 men during this winter in this area. Our victim who is buried as an unknown NZ Soldier has been found in the Wulvestraat (Zonnebeke) some 5 years ago, not so far away from a place called the Tower and near Veldhoek. Probably he has been shelled together with the Lancashire Fusilier and the unknown soldier. There was a logistic dump near Veldhoek and only a few tracks that could be used in this wilderness to move towards the frontline.  

There are about 378 names on the Memorial for the Missing New Zealanders in Polygon Wood (at Buttes New British Cemetery). The soldier who is buried today is amongst them.

It was a very moving ceremony, led by Reverend Chris Kellock QCVS RAChD (Chaplain Royal Regiment of Fusiliers) today and it was attended by many young people, veterans, volunteers from the Passchendaele Society and the New Zealand Pilgrimage Trust, locals and flag bearers from different patriotic organisations.
the headstone for the three Soldiers

The New Zealand Ambassador to Belgium was here together with Brigadier Evan Williams, Head of the New Zealand Defence Staff in London and Royal NZ Navy Captain Shaun Fogarty Military Attaché to Belgium and France.
Alderperson Sabine Vanderhaeghe was representing Zonnebeke and Alderman Jef Verschoore Ieper/Ypres.
May they Rest in Peace
We will remember them.

Ka Maumahara tonu tatou ki a ratou 

School kids from the local school of Zillebeke came with 5 classes!
The buglers with Major Graham Hickman RNZIR and two members of the Royal Reg. of Fusiliers

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