Thursday, 26 September 2013

Remembering the Dead

Although the Battle of Messines was a great success the loss of life was still very significant. Many men lost their lives in the advance and the hand to hand fighting to take the fortified towns. At Messines, the success of the New Zealand Division also contributed to their losses. In taking and holding the town well before the appointed hour to move forward to take the second line of German defences, resulted in a large number of troops gathering amongst the newly captured ruins of the towns. Before the order to advance was given, the enemy artillery regrouped and launched a barrage of shells on the town, causing many casualties.

Messines Ridge Cemetery, resting place of many New Zealanders.

As with all the major battles of the Great War, some bodies were never recovered and over the intervening years the remains of men are discovered during archaeology and building work. 

In 2012 a New Zealand soldier was discovered during work in Messines, he was laid to rest with full military honours.
Video from the ceremony.

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