comscore Prince Charles honors New Zealanders slain in World War I | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Top News

Prince Charles honors New Zealanders slain in World War I


    A member of the Maori Cultural Group arrives at the ceremony to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme in the New Zealand Battlefield Memorial in Longueval, northern France.

LONGUEVAL, France >> Britain’s Prince Charles and other dignitaries honored thousands of soldiers from New Zealand and other Pacific islands killed 100 years ago in World War I, in emotional ceremonies Thursday at the site of the devastating Battle of the Somme.

About half of the 15,000 New Zealand forces who fought in the battle, one of history’s bloodiest, were killed or wounded. Most have no known grave, and their names are inscribed on a memorial in the French town of Longueval.

“My hope is that today we can rededicate ourselves to a future free of intolerance and conflict. We do this in honor of the memory of those who fought and died here, so long ago,” the Prince of Wales said in a speech at the Caterpillar Valley Commonwealth War Graves Commission in Longueval.

“We shall remember them.”

The prince — wearing the uniform of a field marshal in the New Zealand army, a rank he was given last year — laid a wreath at the New Zealand Battlefield Memorial. It was part of a day of commemorations in the Somme region, whose forests and plains became battlefields for months.

The New Zealand infantry entered action on Sept. 15, 1916, exactly 100 years ago, in the country’s first major engagement on the Western Front. Hundreds were killed, including islanders building communications trenches under artillery fire.

More than 1 million people were killed, wounded or went missing in the Battle of the Somme as British and French troops faced off against German opposition from July 1 to Nov. 18, 1916, trading poison gas shells and relentless artillery bombardments.

British, French and German officials have held multiple commemorations this year marking the centenary of the battle and stressing efforts at European unity in recent decades to avoid future wars.

Comments (0)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Leave a Reply

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature

Scroll Up