Remembering the whole of New Zealand’s First World War…

As we count down  to the centenary of the Anzac landings on Gallipoli – 25 April – we need to remember that New Zealand’s First World War was far larger than just that campaign.

The New Zealand memorial at Tyne Cot cemetery near Ypres, Flanders. The wall behind lists the 1200 New Zealand officers and men who gave their lives from August 1917, at the battle of Broodsiende, through to October and the disaster of Passchendaele.
The New Zealand memorial at Tyne Cot cemetery near Ypres, Flanders. The wall behind lists the 1200 New Zealand officers and men who gave their lives from August 1917, at the battle of Broodsiende, through to October and the disaster of Passchendaele.

Our soldiers fought from France to Gallipoli to Palestine – and this last campaign, in sharp contrast to the other two, was a fast-moving, far-reaching effort that was in many ways the antithesis of the trench warfare that has become such a symbol of the way we imagine the First World War. Wright_Western Front_200 pxThat’s not to diminish the importance of the trenches as the definition of the war for us. Our largest campaign was the Western Front, where the bulk of the 100,000-plus Kiwis who fought in the First World War were stationed. Memorials scattered across northern France and into Belgium mark the graves of the 12,483 New Zealanders killed in that campaign, between April 1916 when they arrived, and November 1918. We need to remember these brave soldiers too – as well as those who fought in Gallipoli, where 2,779 Kiwis died. I’ve written a variety of books on New Zealand’s First World War. And if you want to learn more, you can grab Western Front: The New Zealand Division 1916-18, right now, on Kindle. Copyright © Matthew Wright 2015


2 thoughts on “Remembering the whole of New Zealand’s First World War…

  1. There are so many stories, some large and some small that come out of these huge conflicts. Each is important in its own right. Too bad that this one was not truly the war to end all wars.

    1. Indeed! We humans never seem to learn. One of the tragedies of tge human condition. As an aside, I believe the phrase was coined by H G Wells – and promptly attacked by a journalist, A’court Repington, who retorted that it was merely the ‘first’ World War. Even that was a stretch. As Churchill noted, the wars of the18th century had been global.

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