New Zealand Battlefields and Memorials of the Western Front
By Ian McGibbon
Oxford University Press 2001
ISBN 0 19 5584449
viii + 96 pages. Numerous illustrations (some in colour) and maps.
No UK/US price details.
The New Zealand Division, veterans of Gallipoli and some of the hardest fought battles on the Western Front, were regarded by most senior British officers as one of the finest and best disciplined formations in the BEF. For many years while there has been a great deal of interest in visiting the Australian battlefields in France and Flanders, no single guide has shown the way for those wishing to remember the Kiwis.
This new book looks at the New Zealand battlefields from Flanders to the Somme, examining in turn each of the key sectors. The history behind each location is explained in some depth, and there is advice on what to see in the locality today – together with a useful map for every battlefield. The highlight of the book are the numerous individual stories of officers and men of the NZ Division – from the All Blacks players who fell to the incredible Dick Travis VC DCM MM, the ‘King of No Man’s Land’ who died on the Somme in 1918.
In his introduction the author states that the book came into being because "more needed to be done to commemorate the New Zealanders who have their lives while serving overseas.". With Ian McGibbon’s book they have a fine memorial, and an excellent lead in seeing the sacred ground where they fought and died. It should be on the shelves of anyone with an active interest in the battlefields and will fill a gap in our knowledge of this highly regarded division.
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