Armistice sculpture nearly underway

Armistice in Cambridge group chair Paul Watkins with a replica of the stainless steel Le Quesnoy Memorial Sculpture, which will take six weeks to install and will be six metres high.

Ground is due to be broken at the site of the Le Quesnoy Memorial Sculpture in the next few weeks, with construction scheduled to start on the plinth to hold a six-metre high sculpture to commemorate the centenary of the liberation of the French town by Kiwi soldiers.

The sculpture was designed by local artist Fred Graham, and will be constructed from stainless-steel with a plinth in the shape of Le Quesnoy town itself. It will be located near Lake Te Kō Utu on the corner of Thornton Rd and Victoria St, near the roundabout.

Armistice in Cambridge group chair Paul Watikins said: “This sculpture will be the centre-piece for the recognition of the Kiwis, led by Cambridge-born Second Lieutenant Averill, who scaled the walled town in northern France to liberate it from the Germans.”

The sculpture is expected to take six weeks to install, at an expected cost of $100,000. Paul said the installation is more complicated than you might think, with the plinth requiring 1.5-metre-deep steel reinforcements to prevent the sculpture from toppling in extreme wind conditions. The bricks used in the plinth are as close to bricks used in Le Quesnoy as possible, and the sculpture features a silver fern with a stylised Eiffel Tower to represent the Kiwi-French connection it is commemorating.

The national WW100 Lotteries fund has contributed $135,000 for the memorial sculpture and other Armistice commemorations, with $12,000 coming from Trust Waikato and $5,000 from the Cambridge Community Board.

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