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Christchurch VC Honoured In Belgium

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
NZ Defence Force.jpg
NZ Defence Force.jpg

15 September 2008 - New Zealand Defence Force personnel took part in the unveiling of a special plaque to honour Christchurch VC holder, Sergeant Henry James Nicholas VC, in Belgium on Sunday 14 September.

Around 300 people attended the ceremony including New Zealand's Ambassador to Belgium HE Mr Peter Kennedy, New Zealand Defence Force personnel and many of the citizens of West Flanders.

SGT Nicholas VC was the first soldier from the Canterbury Regiment to be awarded the Victoria Cross, for his actions during the First World War. The plaque is located near Geluveld to the south of Polygon Wood, close to the spot where Nicholas won the VC.

Military Adviser Defence Staff London, Lieutenant Colonel John Boswell said, "The story of Sergeant Nicholas' exceptional bravery is truly inspirational. He single-handedly captured a German machine-gun post that had opened up on the New Zealand advance, killing 12 of its occupants and taking the other four prisoner. His actions saved many lives and enabled the New Zealand attack to continue."

Following the unveiling those attending the ceremony were guided through Polygon Wood to visit the dug-outs built by New Zealand engineers in 1917. The short walk concluded at the New Zealand Memorial to the Missing at Buttes New British Cemetery where around 500 people attended a remembrance service.

The plaque was erected by the Community of Zonnebeke and the New Zealand Embassy in Brussels.

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