New Zealand’s Ambassador to Belgium Peter Kennedy, took part in a plaque unveiling ceremony to honour New Zealand World War I soldier Sergeant Henry James Nicholas VC in West Flanders, Belgium, (14 September 2008). Sgt Nicholas was the first soldier from New Zealand’s Canterbury Regiment to be awarded the Victoria Cross. The plaque is close to the spot where he won the Victoria Cross on 3 December 1917. Under heavy fire, he singlehandly destroyed a 16-man machine gun post during an advance on Polderhoek Chateau. Subsequently promoted to sergeant, he died near Le Quesnoy, France, on 23 October 1918, days before World War I ended. The plaque was erected by the Community of Zonnebeke and New Zealand’s Embassy in Brussels. It is one of three plaques the Embassy has arranged unveilings to commemorate New Zealand Division soldiers who won the Victoria Cross on Belgian soil. The ceremonies are an opportunity also to remember the nearly 5000 kiwis killed in Belgium during World War I. Following the unveiling ceremony attendees visited two dug-outs in Polygon Wood built by New Zealand engineers in 1917, and walked to the New Zealand Memorial to the Missing at Buttes New British Cemetery for a Memorial Service. London-based New Zealand Defence Force personnel, members of the Maori cultural group Ngati Ranana, and New Zealand piper Paul Turner participated in both the unveiling ceremony and the Memorial Service. The New Zealand Memorial to the Missing at Buttes has the names of 378 New Zealand Division soldiers who died in the Polygon Wood sector between September 1917 and May 1918, and who have no known grave. Sgt Nicholas was the third New Zealand Division serviceman to win the Victoria Cross in Belgium during 1917. The first was Lance Corporal Samuel Frickleton at Mesen/Messines and the second Lance Corporal Leslie Wilton Andrew (later Brigadier) at La Basseville, near Messines. A plaque honouring Samuel Frickleton was unveiled by New Zealand Government Minister Annette King during the 90th Commemorations at Mesen/Messines in 2007. The plaque honouring Leslie Andrew VC, DSO, unveiled at Comines-Warneton on 26 October 2008. A statue of Henry Nicholas was unveiled near Christchurch’s Bridge of Remembrance in New Zealand in March last year (2007). The statue is one-third larger than life size and the figure stands on a two-metre-high base and includes stones from Le Quesnoy and the Polderhoek Chateau area of Flanders. http://www.mfat.govt.nz/Media-and-publications/Features/980-Plaque-to-NZ-World-War-I-soldier.php The plaque for New Zealand World War I Victoria Cross soldier, Sergeant Henry James Nicholas.