Caption: Photo 004: Alongside his countrymen at last. Reverend John Porter, a British clergyman living in France, laid to rest the remains of the Auckland regiment soldier found near Longueval.
17 February 2011
A solemn ceremony to rebury the remains of a New Zealand soldier was held at Caterpillar Valley cemetery near Longueval, northern France on Wednesday 16 February.
The ceremony was attended by the New Zealand Ambassador to France, Rosemary Banks, New Zealand Defence Force personnel including Defence Attaché, Brigadier Phil Gibbons and Commanding Officer of the Auckland and Northland Battalion Group, Lieutenant Colonel Chris Powell, and the Mayor of Longueval, Jany Fournier.
LT COL Powell said, “The service was a poignant time to reflect on service and sacrifice. After lying in a foreign field for 95 years he is now with his mates buried with the honour and dignity befitting a warrior.”
The remains of the soldier were discovered alongside two Auckland Regiment collar badges by a local farmer in December 2009 near Longueval, a small village in the northeastern Somme. 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 on the outskirts of Longueval, which also bears 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.
Editors please credit Brian Lockstone/NZDF
For further information please contact Ally Clelland, Defence Communications Group, 021 569 130 or Lieutenant Colonel Chris Powell 021 1744294.