In Le Quesnoy, they wouldn't let me buy a beer.

In the final days of World War I, the gorgeous town in the north of France was liberated from German control by Kiwi soldiers.

The New Zealanders chose not to bombard the town with artillery, instead they scaled the medieval walls with ladders, sparing the historic walls, buildings and — crucially — the inhabitants from shelling.

I was there on Anzac Day in the early 2000s. The walls are stunning, the street signs have New Zealand names, and the locals paid for our beers and joined us in remembrance.


It was a moving and joyful visit — truly a journey to remember.