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Leslie Averill Great War Story

Video file

The video for this story about Leslie Averill screened on Newshub on 25 April 2018.

For four years Le Quesnoy, a walled town in Northern France, had been occupied by the Germans. On 4 November 1918, one week before the Armistice was declared, a young Christchurch medical student led the way up a ladder and into the town. 

He was a junior officer, and as his son Colin Averill says, probably an impetuous 21 year old keen to get into the town first.

In the fighting that ensued, the Germans soon surrendered. One of the four New Zealand memorials on the Western Front is located at Le Quesnoy. Read more about the liberation of Le Quesnoy.

In August 1918 Leslie Averill had been awarded the Military Medal for exceptional courage and bravery during the assault on Bapaume.

A New Zealand Museum is being developed at Le Quesnoy, a town where New Zealanders are warmly welcomed.  A local school is dedicated to Dr Leslie Averill’s memory.

His son Colin Averill is co-writing a book about his father’s long and community-minded life. 


Video: Produced and directed by Anna Cottrell, AC Productions for MediaWorks Newshub. Made with the support of NZ On Air. See full video credits here (pdf).

How to cite this page

Leslie Averill Great War Story, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated