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New Zealanders at the Battle of the Somme 15th September 1916

Written by Juliana Austen on September 10th, 2016.      0 comments

On 1 July 1916 British and French forces launched an offensive which would become known as the Battle of the Somme.

The first day of the battle is regarded as one of the bloodiest days of the First World War with the loss of over 19,000 servicemen of the British Empire. The Somme Offensive lasted for another 141 days. By November winter closed down the battles. The five months of fighting resulted in 420,000 British Empire troops wounded or killed.

At 0620 hours on the 15th September 1916 the New Zealand Division fixed bayonets and advanced in four waves toward their objective the village of Flers. 

603 New Zealanders were killed that day.
The Division continued fighting on The Somme for another 23 days, advanced 2 miles (3 Kilometres) and captured 1,000 German prisoners of war. By the time they withdrew there were 8,000 New Zealand casualties and over 2,000 dead.

The New Zealand Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, National War Memorial,Wellington contains the remains of an unknown New Zealand soldier who died on The Somme.

A Field of Remembrance will be laid in the Auckland Domain this month to honour 163 men of the Auckland Battalion and from the wider Auckland region who served and made the ultimate sacrifice on the 15th September 1916.

In France the Bleuet de France (cornflower) is the flower of remembrance so our crosses are decorated with a poppy and cornflower motif.

We remember all those men who have no known grave with the cross “Known unto God”
Topics: Events







The Fields of Remembrance Trust was established in 2012 to honour those who served and died for our nation during World War One.

The Trust is made up of the Passchendaele Society, the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association, New Zealand (RNZRSA) representIng all local RSAs, and the Auckland RSA. It is a registered charity.