France pays tribute to New Zealand during ANZAC commemorations
In the special context laid by the Centenary of the First World War Commemorations, France will actively take part in the tribute paid to New Zealand troops on the occasion of the ANZAC commemorations.
On Tuesday 14 April 2015, eight New Zealand Veterans were awarded the French Legion of Honour by Ambassador of France to New Zealand, H.E. Mrs Florence Jeanblanc-Risler, during a formal ceremony held at the National Museum of the Royal New Zealand Navy. These eight men have been identified as having engaged in a significant role in the liberation of France during the Second World War.
For their bravery and their infallible commitment to ending the war, Mr François Hollande has officially appointed as Knight of the national Order of the Legion of Honour:
Flight Lieutenant John Moore Morris
Squadron Leader Keith Marwood Boles
Flight Lieutenant Hugh Findlater,
Able Seaman Roger Maclean,
Lieutenant Neil Harton,
Squadron Leader John Leslie Munro,
Flying Officer Clive Woodward Estcourt
Flying Officer Noel Sutherland
This formal acknowledgment of services by New Zealand veterans is part of a campaign of recognition undertaken by France in conjunction with the commemorations for the 70th anniversary of the battle of Normandy. Two New Zealanders have already been recognised for their contribution to the liberation of France – Mrs Phyllis Ada Latour (Pippa Doyle) and Mr Penwill Moore.
Founded by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, the Legion of Honour is the highest decoration bestowed in France. It seeks to reward both military and civilian distinguished services rendered to the nation.
A delegation of French senators led by Mr. Jean-Marie Vanlerenberghe, President of the inter-parliamentary France-New Zealand Friendship group will conduct a work visit to New Zealand from April 22nd to 30th.
Appointed to officially represent the President of the French Republic on ANZAC Day in New Zealand, Mr. Jean-Marie Vanlerenberghe will take part in the commemorative ceremonies held in Wellington on April 25th and will lay a wreath at the Memorial Park in the name of France.
Also travelling to New Zealand on the occasion of the ANZAC commemorations is a delegation from the French city of Arras, led by the mayor, Mr. Frédéric Leturque. This will mark Mr. Leturque’s first visit to the tunnel named after his city, in honour of the New Zealand Tunnelling Company which was sent in 1916 to extend the city’s existing tunnel system. Prior to the Battle of Arras, the company dug underneath German lines where mines were laid for detonation and during the subsequent successful Allied assault, the Germans were forced to recede by more than 10 kilometres. Following the battle, the Company also contributed to the rebuild of the city of Arras.
Before taking part in the commemorative services held in the capital, Mr. Leturque will travel to Waihi to lay the first stone of a New Zealand Engineers Tunnelling Company (NZETC) Memorial. The monument unveiling is timed to mark the centennial of the Tunnellers’ arrival in France in early March 1916.
Travelling from Vanuatu where her crew participated in the humanitarian efforts following Cyclone Pam, the French frigate Vendémiaire will make a port of call in Wellington from April 22nd to 28th.
During the Vendémiaire’s visit, her sailors will attend the Dawn service parade on official duty alongside New Zealand Defence Force troops, to commemorate the centenary of the Gallipoli landings. Commander Hervé Siret will also attend four official ceremonies in Wellington throughout ANZAC Day.