THE SYMPOSIUM

This questionnaire was followed and completed by a symposium which took place in France from 6 to 12 December 2015. The objective of the symposium was to establish, through a dialogue between France and New Zealand, a document which defines the general terms of reference, in regards to aesthetics, design and remembrance purpose, and which sets out the general specifications for the memorial. This document is intended to guide the artists, designers and architects wishing to enter the public competition organised in New Zealand in the first half of 2016.

 

This symposium gathered together six prominent New Zealanders who spent a full week interacting with French organisations and specialists involved in the WW1 commemorations, including museums’ curators, historians, elected officials, veterans’ associations and more.

 

Three French participants - photographer Jean Richardot, visual artist Patrice Alexandre and historian Yves Le Maner - joined the New Zealand delegates to discuss how French and New Zealanders look together at this part of our shared history. The group was invited to visit some of the most significant places of remembrance for France, New Zealand and other Commonwealth countries on the Western Front. Beyond the unmissable Carrière Wellington, Longueval and the Caterpillar Valley, the visit also took the delegates to the Invalides Army Musem, the Museum of the Great War in Meaux, the Verdun memorial, and the World Centre for Peace, Liberties and Human Rights, among others.

 

The brief produced on the conclusion of the symposium focuses on the “big ideas” that the memorial should represent, leaving plenty of creative flexibility to the architects and designers to best represent them.

THE DELEGATION

Rhys JONES, CNZM (head of delegation)

Lieutenant General Rhys Jones was appointed the Chief of Army on 1 May 2009 and in January 2011 was appointed as the Chief of the Defence Force. He served in this role until January 2014, during which time he was one of the drivers behind New Zealand’s First World War Centennial project. On departing the Army, Rhys Jones was appointed the Executive Director of the National Military Heritage Charitable Trust where his role was to coordinate the creative work of the film-maker Sir Peter Jackson with the fundraising, operational management and construction work required to support the project.

Elizabeth KNOX

Elizabeth Knox is the author of twelve novels and three novellas. Her book The Vintner’s Luck, won the Deutz Medal for Fiction in the 1999 Montana New Zealand Book Awards, and the Tasmania Pacific Region Prize. The Vintner’s Luck is published in ten languages. Among many awards, Elizabeth Knox was the recipient of the 1999 Katherine Mansfield Fellowship which enables every year a New Zealand writer to spend a few months in Menton, France and the 2014 Michael King Fellowship. Her first novel, After-Z Hour, was first published on Armistice Day 1987 and won the PEN Award for Best First Book of Prose. In the story, a young New Zealand serviceman who died in 1920 soon after his return from France come back to haunt the minds of six young people stranded in an old house.

Dave ARMSTRONG

Dave Armstrong is a playwright, newspaper columnist and museum writer/concept developer. Dave’s hit comedy, Le Sud, written in 2009, has played throughout New Zealand. Le Sud imagines that the entire South Island was colonized by the French, and has been enjoyed by thousands of New Zealanders. King and Country, written in 2005, drew on letters, telegrams, newspaper articles, and recordings to tell the story of New Zealand soldiers in World War I. In 2014-15, Dave worked as a writer and consultant on Gallipoli: The Scale of Our War at Te Papa, and as a writer and audio director on the groundbreaking Ngā Tapuwae app, which provided e-guides for visitors to Gallipoli and the Western Front. He also wrote scripts for the first two series of Great War Stories presented by Hilary Barry on TV3.

Monty SOUTAR

Dr Monty Soutar is a senior historian with the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. He is currently the foremost Maori military historian in New Zealand. Following on from his successful book Nga Tama Toa: the Price of Citizenship, about the role of the 28th Maori Battalion during the Second World War, he is working on a major publication about Maori participation in the First World War. He has been a school teacher, university lecturer, holds several university degrees, has served in the NZ Army, holds a number of appointments on national advisory boards in New Zealand, including the First World War Centenary Panel, and was named in this year’s New Year’s Honours list as an officer of the NZ Order of Merit.

Stephen McDOUGALL

Stephen McDougall has been a Director of Studio Pacific since the company's founding in 1992. He is a Registered New Zealand Architect and Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Architects, with 30 years' work experience in the disciplines of urban design, strategic masterplanning, architecture and interior design. Studio Pacific Architecture, in collaboration with sculpturer Kingsley Baird, won an international design competition to design the New Zealand Memorial, located on the Anzac Parade in Canberra, Australia. The Memorial was a gift from the New Zealand Government celebrating the relationship between the two countries. Other relevant Studio projects include the restoration and renovation of the Carillion, the Hall of Memories and the setting for Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at the head of Wellington’s new Pukeahu Park.

Robin LAING

Robin Laing is one of New Zealand’s most experienced film producers. In addition to her long-term collaboration with director Gaylene Preston, she has worked with Christine Jeffs, Hamish Rothwell, Shirley Horrocks and Niki Caro on feature films, cinema shorts and television documentaries. Currently she serves on the boards for the New Zealand International Film Festival Trust, the Film Career Education Trust and WIFT New Zealand. She is a past board member of the New Zealand Film Commission, the New Zealand Film Archive (Nga Taonga), the Producers and Directors Guild (SPADA), the Copyright Council and Screenrights and in 2002 she was appointed to the government’s Screen Industry Task Force.

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THE PROGRAMME

National War History and Army Museum « Les Invalides »

Les Invalides, officially known as L'Hôtel national des Invalides (The National Residence of the Invalids), or also as L'Hôtel des Invalides, is a complex of buildings in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building's original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l'Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d'Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the Dôme des Invalides, a large church with the burial site for some of France's war figures, most notably Napoléon Bonaparte.

Le Musée de la Grande Guerre, Meaux (Museum of the Great War)

Housing a collection unparalleled anywhere in Europe, the Musée de la Grande Guerre of the Meaux region offers a new vision of the first worldwide conflict (1914-1918), through innovative scenography illustrating the great changes and upheavals in society that resulted from it. It shows the remarkable heritage to be handed on to future generations. This museum of history and society helps learn of past hardships, better understand present-day society and build tomorrow's world.

 

 

Rekindling of the Torch Ceremony (Grave of the French Unkown Soldier, at the base of the Arc de Triomphe)

At the base of the Arc de Triomphe, stands a torch. It burns in the darkness to recall the sacrifice of an unknown French soldier who gave his life during World War I. The idea for an unknown soldier to be honored in death in France was first initiated in 1916 while World War I was still being fought. On November 12, 1919, the concept was given formal recognition and it was determined that the Unknown Soldier would be laid to rest at the Pantheon, which contains the remains of some of France's most famous citizens and leaders. The following year, after a large-scale letter writing campaign, it was finally determined that the Unknown Soldier would be buried at the base of the Arc de Triomphe.

 

On November 10, 1920 at the Citadel of Verdun, a young soldier, Auguste Thien, reviewed eight identical coffins, each bearing the remains of an unknown French soldier who had been killed during the Great War. Thien selected the sixth of the eight coffins, which was transported to Paris to rest in the chapel on the first floor of the Arc de Triomphe. On October 22, 1922 the French Parliament declared the eleventh day of November in each year to be a national holiday. The following year on November 11, 1923 Andre Maginot, French Minister for War, lit the eternal flame for the first time. Since that date it has become the duty of the Committee of the Flame to rekindle that torch each evening at twilight.

New Zealand Memorial at Grevilliers

The Memorial commemorates almost 450 officers and men of the New Zealand Division who died in the defensive fighting in the area from March to August 1918, and in the Advance to Victory between 8 August and 11 November 1918, and who have no known grave. This is one of seven memorials in France and Belgium to those New Zealand soldiers who died on the Western Front and whose graves are not known. The memorials are all in cemeteries chosen as appropriate to the fighting in which the men died.

The village of Grevillers was occupied by Commonwealth troops on 14 March 1917 and in April and May, the 3rd, 29th and 3rd Australian Casualty Clearing Stations were posted nearby. They began the cemetery and continued to use it until March 1918, when Grevillers was lost to the German during their great advance. On the following 24 August, the New Zealand Division recaptured Grevillers and in September, the 34th, 49th and 56th Casualty Clearing Stations came to the village and used the cemetery again. After the Armistice, 200 graves were brought in from the battlefields to the south of the village, and 40 from an adjoining cemetery made during the German occupation, which no longer exists.

Notre-Dame de Lorette Cemetery and Memorial

Notre Dame de Lorette, also known as Ablain-Saint-Nazaire French Military Cemetery, is the world's largest French military cemetery. It is the name of a ridge, basilica, and French national cemetery northwest of Arras at the village of Ablain-Saint-Nazaire. The high point of the hump-backed ridge stands 165 metres high and – with Vimy Ridge – utterly dominates the otherwise flat Douai plain and the town of Arras. The ground was strategically important during the First World War and was bitterly contested in a series of long and bloody engagements between the opposing French and German armies. It was the focal point of three major battles. The Battles of Artois were as costly in French lives as the better-known Battle of Verdun. As with numerous other sites across France, Notre Dame de Lorette became a national necropolis: a sacred ground containing the graves of French and Colonial fallen, as well as an ossuary, containing the bones of those whose names were not marked. In total, the cemetery and ossuary hold the remains of more than 40,000 soldiers, as well as the ashes of many concentration camp victims. A small building was raised in 1727 by the painter Nicolas Florent Guilbert, who had made a successful pilgrimage to Loreto (Italy), to shelter a statue of the Virgin Mary, hence the name. It was destroyed in 1794, rebuilt in 1816 and transformed in 1880. The modern basilica and memorial buildings were designed by the architect Louis-Marie Cordonnier and his son Jacques Cordonnier, and built between 1921 and 1927.

“Ring of Memory”

Opened on November 11, 2014, the Ring of Memory is located in front of the French National Cemetery. Designed by architect Philippe Prost, this elliptical monument bears the names of 580,000 soldiers who died in the Nord-Pas de Calais region during World War I. 40 nationalities are represented. The names are engraved in alphabetical order, regardless of nationality or rank.

 

Carrière Wellington

The Carrière Wellington is a museum in Arras, northern France. It is named after a former underground quarry which was part of a network of tunnels used by forces of the British Empire and Commonwealth during the First World War. Opened in March 2008, the museum commemorates the soldiers who built the tunnels and fought in the Battle of Arras in 1917.

 

The tunnels

 

500 miners from the New Zealand Tunnelling Company, including Māori and Pacific Islanders, recruited from the gold and coal mining districts of the country, were brought in to dig 20 kilometres of tunnels. They worked alongside Royal Engineer tunnelling companies, made up by now of British coal miners and expert tunnellers who had built the London Underground. The work was difficult and dangerous. In the New Zealand units alone, 41 tunnellers died and another 151 were injured during countermining operations against the Germans, whose own tunnellers sought to disrupt the Allied tunneling operations. The Arras tunnels linked the quarries to form a network that ran from the town centre, under no man's land, to a number of points just in front of the German front lines.

 

The tunnel system could accommodate 20,000 men and were outfitted with running water, electric lights, kitchens, latrines, a light rail system and a fully equipped hospital. The tunnellers named the individual quarries after their home towns - Auckland, Wellington, Nelson, Blenheim, Christchurch and Dunedin for the New Zealanders, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Crewe and London for the Britons.

 

Thousands of soldiers were billeted in the tunnels for eight days prior to the start of the Arras offensive on 9 April 1917. At 05:30 that morning, exits were dynamited to enable the troops to storm the German trenches. The Germans were taken by surprise and were pushed back 11 km. This counted as an extraordinary success by the standards of the time. However, the offensive soon bogged down and it was eventually called off after casualties reached 4,000 a day.

 

The museum

 

The Carrière Wellington museum consists of a visitor centre displaying historic artifacts and presenting the historical context of the Battle of Arras, including the work of the tunnellers and the military strategy that underlay the tunnels' construction. It was opened to the public on 1 March 2008.

 

The tunnels are accessed via a lift shaft that takes visitors approximately 22 m below ground to the galleries around the Wellington quarry. Visitors are taken on a guided tour along some 350 m of tunnels to see audio-visual presentations of various aspects of the campaign and the soldiers who built and stayed in the tunnels. At various places, graffiti and painted signs can be seen, along with relics of the troops such as cans of bully beef, helmets and bottles.

Historial de la Grande-Guerre de Péronne

The Historical Museum of the Great War (“Historial de la Grande Guerre”) located near the heart of the World War I Somme battlefields, is housed within the Château de Péronne, a castle in the town of Péronne, France. The museum looks mostly at the Great War, and the years just before and just after. It strives to place war in a social context, stressing "the common suffering of the combatants" and "the civilians, who were equally mobilised by the war effort".

Thiepval Memorial, Tower of Ulster Memorial and Beaumont-Hamel Memorial

Thiepval Thiepval is the most important franco-british Memorial in the world. The Somme Memorial, erected in 1932 by the British government, is dedicated to the 75,085 British and South African soldiers missing in action between July 1915 and March 1918 and who have no known graves. Their names are engraved on the 16 pillars that form the base of the 45-metre high arch. The military cemetery is founded upon British commemorative principles: the names are engraved on headstone or memorial; the headstones are uniform and there is no distinction made on account of military or civil rank, or religion. The Cross of Sacrifice set upon an octagonal base bears a bronze sword upon its shaft. The Stone of Remembrance is inscribed with the words from the Book of Ecclesiasticus, "Their Name Liveth for Evermore".

 

The Ulster Tower is the memorial both to the Irish of the Battle of the Somme and to all Ulstermen who died in the Great War, on the Somme battlefieds. The tower, financed through public subscription and built in 1921, in romantic Gothic style, is an exact replica of a tower near the 36th Division's training ground in Belfast. It is the memorial both to the Irish of the Battle of the Somme and to all Ulstermen who died in the Great War.

 

The Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial is a memorial site dedicated to the commemoration of Dominion of Newfoundland forces members who were killed during World War I. The 74-acre (300,000 m2) preserved battlefield park encompasses the grounds over which the Newfoundland Regiment made their unsuccessful attack on 1 July 1916 during the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

“Le Circuit du Souvenir” (Circuit of Remembrance), Longueval-Caterpillar Valley and Delville Wood South African National Memorial

Circuit of Remembrance

 

The Battlefields can be visited through a marked itinerary connecting the two towns symbolising the Great War in the Somme: Albert, where the British troops were stationed, and Péronne, then occupied by the Germans.This ‘Circuit of Remembrance’ can be recognised by panels displaying the poppy, a flower of the Somme which has become the emblem of British remembrance. It is possible to obtain brochures and books detailing the different battle sites of the Somme and the events which took place there. Guided visits are also available for groups. The southern part of the circuit concerns the French sector while the north concerns the British.

 

Visit of Longueval, Caterpillar Valley and New Zealand National

 

Longueval is a village approximately 13 kilometres east of Albert and 10 kilometres south of Bapaume. Caterpillar Valley Cemetery lies a short distance west of Longueval on the south side of the road to Contalmaison. Caterpillar Valley was the name given by the army to the long valley which rises eastwards, past "Caterpillar Wood", to the high ground at Guillemont. The ground was captured and lost several times, after very fierce fighting, during the war. After the Armistice, the existing cemetery was hugely increased when the graves of more than 5,500 officers and men were brought in from other small cemeteries, and the battlefields of the Somme. Caterpillar Valley Cemetery now contains 5,569 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War. On the 6th November 2004, the remains of an unidentified New Zealand soldier were removed from this cemetery and entrusted to New Zealand at a ceremony held at the Longueval Memorial, France. The remains had been exhumed by staff of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission from Plot 14, Row A, Grave 27 and were later laid to rest within the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, at the National War Memorial, Wellington, New Zealand. On the east side of the cemetery is the Caterpillar Valley New Zealand Memorial, commemorating more than 1,200 officers and men of the New Zealand Division who died in the Battles of the Somme in 1916, and whose graves are not known.

 


Delville Wood South African National Memorial

 

The memorial at Delville Wood is a national memorial dedicated to all South Africans who served in all theatres of war. It is the only memorial dedicated to the participation of the South African Forces on the 1914-1918 Western Front. 229,000 officers and men served with the South African Forces in the Great War. Their casualties who died in action or who died of wounds numbered approximately 10,000. All those who died in the service of the Union of South Africa are named in a book held at the Delville Wood Museum next to the memorial

Verdun Memorial and surroundings

The Verdun Memorial

 

The Verdun Memorial is a war memorial to commemorate the Battle of Verdun, fought in 1916 as part of the First World War. It is situated on the battlefield, close to the destroyed village of Fleury-devant-Douaumont in the département of Meuse in north-eastern France. It was built during the 1960s, financed by famous writer Maurice Genevoix and has been open to the public since September 17, 1967. It remembers both French and German combatants as well as the civilian populations lost during the Battle of Verdun. Furthermore it is a military museum which displays French and German armaments (including rifles, machine guns and field artillery), military vehicles, uniforms and equipment of both French and German troops during the battle. Over time it has become more of an educational museum than a commemorative monument in an effort to keep younger generations aware of their communal heritage. It also contains a movie theater projecting relevant period films on the battle, a research facility, a library, and a bookstore.

 

The Douaumont ossuary

 

The Douaumont ossuary (French: L'ossuaire de Douaumont) is a memorial containing the remains of soldiers who died on the battlefield during the Battle of Verdun in World War I. It is located in Douaumont, France, within the Verdun battlefield. It was built on the initiative of Charles Ginisty, Bishop of Verdun. It has been designated a "nécropole nationale", or "national cemetery".

The battle of Verdun, 21 February - December 1916, 300 days and 300 nights of hard fighting, appalling. 26 000 000 bombshells fired by the artillery, so 6 bombshells per square meter, thousands of shredded bodies, nearly 300.000 French and German soldiers missing. The ossuary keeps in it the human remains of soldiers dead on the battlefield in the way to preserve their memory.

 

Fort Douaumont

 

Fort Douaumont was the largest and highest fort on the ring of 19 large defensive forts protecting the city of Verdun, France since the 1890s. However, by 1915 the French General Staff had concluded that even the best-protected forts of Verdun could not resist bombardments from the German 420 mm (16.5 in) Gamma guns. These newly deployed giant howitzers had easily taken several large Belgian forts out of action in August 1914. As a result, Fort Douaumont and other Verdun forts, being judged ineffective, had been partly disarmed and left virtually undefended since 1915. On 25 February 1916, Fort Douaumont was entered and occupied without a fight, by a small German raiding party comprising only 19 officers and 79 men. The easy fall of Fort Douaumont, only three days after the beginning of the Battle of Verdun, produced a deep shock in the French Army. It set the stage for the rest of a battle which lasted nine months, at enormous human costs.

Douaumont was finally recaptured by three infantry divisions of the French Second Army, during the First Offensive Battle of Verdun on 24 October 1916. This event brought closure to the Battle of Verdun in 1916.

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