9 February 2011
A ceremony to rebury the remains of a New Zealand soldier will be held at Caterpillar Valley cemetery in Longueval, France next week.
The ceremony, to be held on Wednesday 16 February, will be attended by the New Zealand Ambassador to France, Ms Rosemary Banks, New Zealand Defence Force personnel including Defence Attaché, Brigadier Phil Gibbons and Commanding Officer of the Auckland Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Chris Powell, and the Mayor of Longueval.
The remains of the soldier were discovered in December 2009 near Longueval, alongside 2 Auckland Regiment collar badges. The identity of the soldier remains unknown however the location of the remains suggests that the soldier was a casualty of an action in the region during September 1916.
There are 125 New Zealand graves at Caterpillar Valley Cemetery which also contains a memorial to the 1,205 men of the New Zealand Division who were killed in the Battles of the Somme in 1916 and whose bodies were never found.
The soldier interred at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Wellington was repatriated from Caterpillar Valley in November 2004. The Tomb serves as a focus of remembrance for the sacrifice made by all servicemen and women.
Media please note: the ceremony will start at 2.00pm but please arrive by 1.30pm to ensure the ceremony is not delayed.
For further information please contact Ally Clelland, Defence Communications Group, 021 569 130 or Lieutenant Colonel Chris Powell 021 1744294.