NZDF

New Plymouth Man Continues Family Tradition in France

Captain William Brewer with the regimental colour of the 5th Wellington, West Coast and Taranaki Battalion
Captain William Brewer with the regimental colour of the 5th Wellington, West Coast and Taranaki Battalion

6 July 2016

Captain (CAPT) William Brewer of New Plymouth will be marching in one of the world’s oldest and largest military parades when the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) takes part in the Bastille Day French parade on 14 July.

Regimental colours and banners representing New Zealand units that served in the First World War will be paraded by 86 NZDF personnel on the Champs-Élysèes during the parade – the first time these flags have been paraded together outside of New Zealand. Infantry colours are flags that symbolise the spirit of a regiment and include honours and badges granted for battles the regiment has participated in since it was raised.

CAPT Brewer is adjutant of 5/7 Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment and will be carrying the regimental colour of the 5th Wellington, West Coast and Taranaki Battalion.

The 5th Wellington, West Coast and Taranaki Battalion regimental colour is emblazoned with French First World War battle honours for Somme 1916, 1918, Baupaume 1918, Hindenburg Line, and France and Flanders 1916-1918.

CAPT Brewer says that many current personnel of his battalion have relatives who have served in the 5th Wellington, West Coast and Taranaki Battalion or its predecessors.

“It is an absolute privilege to be carrying the battle honours earned by their relatives, and to know that their legacy continues unbroken today,” says CAPT Brewer.

CAPT Brewer’s family also has a strong military tradition dating back to the First World War.

One great-grandfather, Lieutenant Charles Lepper, served with the Wellington Regiment and was awarded the Military Medal at Gallipoli and the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry in command of a company east of Le Quesnoy on 4 November 1918. His other great-grandfather, Lieutenant Ralph Brewer, served with the New Zealand Field Artillery in France.

“On a personal level, it will be an honour to carry the regimental colour of the battalion that my father, grandfather and great-grandfather all served in,” CAPT Brewer says.

Warrant Officer Class One Peter Albrett, Staff Sergeant James McArthur and Staff Sergeant Jeremy Smith will also march in the colour party escorting the battalion’s colour.

Bastille Day is a French national holiday and is commemorated across the country with military parades and celebratory activities.

ENDS

For further information, please contact Defence Public Affairs on 021 487 980

This page was last reviewed on 7 July 2016, and is current.