Cambridge Brass band have been invited to represent New Zealand and participate at the Centenary of the Liberation of Le Quesnoy in France.
The Cambridge Brass Band has been invited to participate at the Commemoration of the Centenary of the Liberation of our Sister City Le Quesnoy by soldiers of the New Zealand Division on 4 November 2018. The Band will also play at the opening of the New Zealand War Memorial Museum in Le Quesnoy that will coincide with the Centenary Commemorations.
The medieval walled town of Le Quesnoy was occupied by the German Army in August 1914 soon after the outbreak of World War I. The town was liberated by the New Zealand Division on 4 November 1918 in what has been described as a ‘text book’ infantry battle as they surrounded the town and forced the surrender of the garrison. The assault on the walls was initiated by Lieutenant Leslie Averil who led a small group of Kiwi soldiers up a ladder to secure an entry into the town. The New Zealanders had refused to bombard the ancient walls of the town and suffered over 450 casualties with over 100 soldiers (including one who had landed at Gallipoli) being killed in the battle, but without the loss of a single French inhabitant or damage to the walls and ramparts which date from 1685.
This sacrifice has led to an enduring admiration (almost reverence) for New Zealanders in the town. Streets and school classrooms are named after New Zealand provinces, there are frequent student and cultural exchanges, a designated New Zealand liaison office in Le Quesnoy, and long-term friendships and visits between individuals.
In a speech during his visit to Cambridge in February 2017, the Mayor of Le Quesnoy was passionate in declaring that the town will ‘never, never, ever forget the bravery, determination, and sacrifice of the New Zealand soldiers in freeing Le Quesnoy’.
In addition to participating in the formal commemorative events and the opening of the new New Zealand War Memorial Museum, the Band has been invited to play two public concerts with the local youth band and to visit schools and retirement facilities.
Going to France is obviously an expensive venture for such a small community Band and players and parents are currently undertaking fundraising activities to ensure that the youngsters and supporting players can take full advantage of the educational opportunities that participating in such historically significant events will provide.
For more information please visit our Website.
Our aim is to supplement the costs for the senior band members and covers the full costs for as many of our 19 junior players (our Auxiliary Band) as possible.
Thank You Chris your donation is very generous and very much appreciated.