2 July 2014
Three Army personnel will represent the New Zealand Defence Force in France at this year’s Bastille Day parade in Paris.
The French Government has designated this year’s Bastille Day (France’s national day) activities in Paris as a commemoration of the First World War centenary, and some 80 nations who were involved in the war have been invited to send a Colour Party and youth representatives to the parade.
Second Lieutenant Harry Llewellyn, Staff Sergeant Shannan Wallace and Sergeant Matthew Pearce DSD, who are all serving in the 2nd/1st Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment, will form a Colour Party to carry the Battalion’s Regimental Colour in the parade on 14 July.
Chief of Army Major General (MAJGEN) Dave Gawn chose the Burnham-based 2nd/1st Battalion because its regimental colour carries several First World War battle honours earned in France.
“It’s a great privilege to have this opportunity,” MAJGEN Gawn said.
“A great many New Zealanders died on French battlefields in the First World War, and formal participation in this parade as a centenary event is a unique opportunity to pay our respects, not only to our fallen but also to those of France and other countries,” he said.
The New Zealand Government will be represented by Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Chris Finlayson and also four youth representatives, who will leave for France on Friday.
The Colour Party and youth representatives will visit the First World War battlefield sites on the Western Front, focusing on sites of particular significance to New Zealand.