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The New Zealand Division on the Western Front: Somme 1916


Thu 5 Mar 2015, 7:00pm–9:00pm

Where: Palmerston North Central Library, 4 The Square, Palmerston North

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

Come and listen to a presentation by Colonel Nick Gillard, MNZM, Commander 1st (New Zealand) Brigade on the subject of The Somme, September-October 1916.

The New Zealand Division arrived in France from Egypt in April 1916 and first entered the line near Armentières in mid-May. The Allied offensive on the Somme, which began on 1 July 1916 made only limited progress and the British Commander-in-Chief, General Sir Douglas Haig, decided to launch a further major operation in mid-September. The New Zealand Division was part of this operation and launched its first major attack on the Western Front on 15 September 1916. The objective of the operation was the capture the village Flers and the surrounding area. The attack met with some success initially, but then the operation bogged down and made limited progress. During the twenty-three days following 15 September the New Zealanders battled on in terrible conditions. They took part of three more attacks and on each occasion obtained their tactical objectives. Conditions on the Somme were extremely bad, particularly after heavy rain set in. The New Zealanders were relieved on 4 October, but the New Zealand gunners continued operations until 25 October. The New Zealand Division’s involvement in the Somme offensive cost it more than 7,000 casualties including more than 1,500 dead.

Ground Floor, Central Library

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