Perfect autumn day. The village folk – bright, cheery and hospitable, like people let out of prison, cannot do enough for us. Madame is a very sensible, bright woman, and is always doing us little kindnesses which we repay as best we can.
The air is full of rumours such as “abdication of the Kaiser”, refusal of the “clown Prince” to carry on, “Armistice – German fleet surrendered under the red flag”, “peace declared”, etc., etc. At present we are reminded of war by the boom of land mines blowing up roads, etc. behind the retreating bosches. A huge bridge over the river was already destroyed when we got there.
[Image: The aged town crier of Solesmes in France reading war news to local people in a village captured by New Zealanders in World War I. Photograph taken 9 November 1918 by Henry Armytage Sanders. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington. Ref. 1/2-013666-G]
[Image: New Zealand troops marching through the bombed town of Le Quesnoy, France, during Poincare’s visit. Taken by an unidentified photographer, 10 November 1918. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington. Ref: 1/4-017543-F
Note: the various batteries of the NZ Division’s artillery were not at Le Quesnoy itself, but were relatively nearby. J.R. Bryne’s New Zealand Artillery in the Field, 1914-18 (1922, Auckland), p.295, records:
The New Zealand Artillery was in action for the last time on November 8th, when the 1st and 3rd Brigades carried out a little harassing fire. The enemy, now completely disorganised, was still retiring, and in the afternoon both these Brigades moved forward to the vicinity of Boussieres. The following day all batteries were relieved by the 42nd Divisional Artillery, and orders were issued for the three brigades and the Divisional Ammunition Column to march to Quievy, to rejoin the Division. This move was to be carried out on the 11th and 12th, the intervening night being spent in billets at Villereau.]