A beautiful six-metre-high sculpture in Cambridge commemorates Cambridge’s sister city relationship with Le Quesnoy and continues the historic link that drew these two towns together.
Le Quesnoy is a town in Northern France that was liberated by the bravery and ingenuity of New Zealand soldiers on November 4, 1918 during World War I.
Le Quesnoy had been under German occupation for four years and the New Zealand 3rd Infantry (Rifle) Brigade was tasked with liberating the town. The town’s fortress design made it difficult to launch an attack - the New Zealand soldiers had to contend with the heavily defended Valenciennes Gate entrance, imposing outer walls (six and eight metres high) and inner ramparts a sheer thirteen metres high. The walls of Le Quesnoy could have been quickly reduced to rubble by heavy artillery, but the soldiers wanted to ensure the least amount of damage to the town, and potential loss of residents’ lives. Going over the walls became the plan and in the final stage of the attack a ladder carried the soldiers over the ramparts and into the town where the Germans soon surrendered. Not one civilian was injured.
Le Quesnoy have never forgotten their liberators, and each year they commemorate in special ceremonies at ANZAC Day and on the November 4th Liberation Day.
Each year on November 4th, Cambridge holds a commemoration of the liberation of Le Quesnoy at the sculpture.