NZ4 NZ Infantry, France WWI
After the evacuation of Gallipoli, a New Zealand Infantry Division was formed to serve in France. The men in this set are in full marching order. By now all men wore the 'lemon squeezer' hat which had evolved from the slouch, and had an entrenching tool added to their equipment.
In March 1916 the New Zealand Division of about 20,000 men was formed to serve in France and in May entered the line near Armentieres. Following three months of raids and patrols the Division was committed to the muddy horrors of the Somme offensive, and withdrawn early in October with losses in 23 days of 7,000 men; 1,560 of them killed.
Over the whole of 1917 New Zealand troops were engaged on the Western Front, at Messines, Broodseinde and Passchendaele, suffering heavy casualties.
During the great German offensive of March and April 1918 the Division held out against the heavy thrusts of an army flushed with victory. At Bapaume in August when the tide was turning in the allies' favour the Division took the fullest part in the hard fought advance. With the aid of scaling ladders the medieval fortress of Le Quesnoy ringed with 60 foot walls was taken, the Divisions' final action of the war.
The cost of two and a half years in France was a total of 50,000 casualties, including 13,250 who died of wounds.