6 November 2018
Napier man Dave Garden has proudly represented Hawke’s Bay at the liberation of Le Quesnoy centenary commemorations in France.
Staff Sergeant Garden, a Reserve Forces soldier with 5th/7th Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment, was one of two escorts ceremonially guarding the Regimental Colour of 7th Wellington (City of Wellington’s Own) and Hawke’s Bay Battalion at the ceremony on Sunday.
The Colour, which bears the battle honour of Sambre (Le Quesnoy), was front and centre of the commemorations.
“I was extremely honoured to be representing Hawke’s Bay in remembrance of those who fought and gave so much before us,” Staff Sergeant Garden said.
He has been a Reserve Forces soldier for more than 30 years and has been one of the best sharpshooters in the New Zealand Army, having made its Combat Shooting team three times and competing internationally against other Commonwealth militaries.
In civilian life he works as a foreman and carpenter for a Napier business and those skills have also proved useful for his Reserve Forces’ role.
“I was attached to 2 Engineer Regiment as a builder and helped build a fuel depot in the northern Cook Islands as part of New Zealand’s HADR (humanitarian assistance and disaster relief) programme,” he said.
“Serving New Zealand and helping our Pacific neighbours in a practical way is one of the best things about being in the Reserves.
“The Reserve Forces need all types of different skills – if you’re into fitness, working as a team and giving back to your community, give the Reserves a go.”
The official commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the liberation of Le Quesnoy included a National Commemorative Service at 11am (11pm NZ time) on Sunday and a Last Post Ceremony at 5pm (5am Monday NZ time).