|14 February 2000|
French Visitors Recall War Liberation
Two French Mayors and two Deputy Mayors gave thanks to World War One New Zealand soldiers at a civic reception today.
The Mayor of Le Quesnoy, Monsieur Raoult, also a French member of Parliament, told a Christchurch City Council Mayoral reception that the sacrifice by New Zealand soldiers in 1918 would be remembered for generations still to come.
Le Quesnoy is a town near the Belgium border. One week before the armistice a detachment of New Zealand soldiers, including 12 attached to the Canterbury Regiment, recaptured the town after four years of German occupation.
A group of 31 are starting a friendship tour of the country and the visit will include Cambridge as it is Le Quesnoys sister city.
Christchurchs Mayor, Garry Moore, said relatives of the World War One soldiers were present at the function. "We are proud of the courage of the Canterbury soldiers who liberated the town," he said.
"The special bond will last forever. We welcome you here to keep those bonds as they are as important to us as to you."
Mr Moore said he would visit Le Quesnoy in June and will be accompanied by his sister who lived in France.
Monsieur Raoult said the meeting was emotional and the towns population had never forgotten the sacrifice of New Zealand soldiers and it would not be forgotten for generations.
The Mayor Beaudignies, Monsieur Delannoy, said New Zealanders would always be welcomed in Le Quesnoy and the nearby region because of the strong emotional ties between the two countries.