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Cabaret au Bon Fermier

Cabaret au Bon Fermier https://ngatapuwae.govt.nz/cabaret-au-bon-fermier Making their way into the town, this was one of the first strongpoints the New Zealanders encountered. Ngā Tapuwae Trails https://ngatapuwae.govt.nz/sites/default/files/stop/media/Western%20Front-Messines-St%20Nicolas%20Church-National%20Army%20Museum-NAM10330.jpg

Making their way into the town, this was one of the first strongpoints the New Zealanders encountered.

WF_Messines_Loc_CNRofNZStraatandArme.mp3
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Cabaret au Bon Fermier

You’re standing on the corner of New Zealand Straat and Armentières Straat - looking up Armentières Straat to the village of Messines. This was the centreline of the New Zealand Division’s attack. Behind you, further down New Zealand Straat is the New Zealand Memorial, and you are standing alongside one of the first strongpoints that they ran into, the former public house Cabaret au Bon Fermier, which had been converted into a bunker.

The 2nd Brigade were on the left and the Rifle Brigade on the right, and this road was the divider between the two attacking brigades of New Zealand infantry. On the morning of the 7th - even though it’s not first light - roughly 4.30 in the morning - the New Zealanders were fighting their way forward through a maze of ruined buildings and shell craters, some five or six metres deep. It was the 1stCanterburys that engaged this strongpoint here storming it. They grenaded the entrance to the dugouts and the German garrison surrendered, giving up their machine guns.

The New Zealanders then fought their way through the rest of the town. There were some 200 buildings in the town, each with cellars, and these had all been turned into a strongpoint for defending. The town itself was a wasteland, a chaotic mess of broken rubble with hardly any buildings standing. The New Zealanders continued fighting cellar to cellar, grenading or bayoneting its defenders, taking prisoners, and then moving on.

If you look down the Armentières road to your right, onto the lower ground, you can imagine the Australians there - three of the mines had exploded in their sector and they advanced rapidly through the area, clearing a path on the New Zealanders' right. 

How to get here

Getting there

Continue along Nieuw-Zealanderstraat until you come to the intersection with Armentiersstraat (N365).

Where to stand 

Stand with your back to the door of the white house on the corner.

GPS
50°45'44"N
2°53'43"E
Decimal GPS
50.76245
2.895355
  • Bombed ruins at Messines.
    Bombed ruins at Messines.Credits

    1999.1961, National Army Museum, NZ http://nam.recollect.co.nz/nodes/view/10326

  • A destroyed German position at Messines.
    A destroyed German position at Messines.Credits

    1999.1961, National Army Museum, NZ http://nam.recollect.co.nz/nodes/view/10333

  • An Allied soldier stands inside a partially destroyed German pillbox, Messines.
    An Allied soldier stands inside a partially destroyed German pillbox, Messines.Credits

    1999.1961, National Army Museum, NZ http://nam.recollect.co.nz/nodes/view/10334

  • Two Allied soldiers in a destroyed German position at Messines.
    Two Allied soldiers in a destroyed German position at Messines.Credits

    1999.1961, National Army Museum, NZ http://nam.recollect.co.nz/nodes/view/10339

  • A captured German prisoner, Messines, 8 June 1917.
    A captured German prisoner, Messines, 8 June 1917.Credits

    © Imperial War Museums (Q 2294)

Stories & Insights

A soldier stands next to a large water-filled mine crater, blown by Australian Engineers at the start of the Battle of Messines, near Wytschaete.

An ancient method of warfare evolved with devastating effects.

A witness to the huge mine explosions, McCaw saw ‘hell let loose’ during the attack.

New Zealand soldiers training in Belgium for the attack on Messines.

In order for an attack to be successful, a great deal of preparation and training was involved.

Molloy was wounded by shrapnel attacking German trenches near the village of Messines.

William Massey and Joseph Ward inspect the New Zealand Cyclist Battalion in France, 3 July 1917.

Once trench warfare settled in on the Western Front, the use of horses and bicycles changed drastically.

Twisleton’s work was difficult, dangerous, and never ending.

Useful resources for those looking for more information.

A selection of First World War vocabulary and common phrases.

Take the next trail

The next Ngā Tapuwae trail is Plugstreet. Proceed to Hyde Park Corner.
Link to the first stop

Decimal GPS:
71.62108858805637
-65.14718243749996
Sequence:
1
Decimal GPS:
69.80967086787646
-68.72628399999996
Sequence:
2
Decimal GPS:
66.0084106438686
-80.688629375
Sequence:
3
Decimal GPS:
59.8900188045748
-98.81263778124998
Sequence:
4
Decimal GPS:
66.07910529989225
-30.661455093749964
Sequence:
5

Stop Images

Sequence:
1
Decimal GPS Real Location:
50.75681305294956
2.885429608459617
Sequence:
2
Decimal GPS Real Location:
50.75758
2.886245
Sequence:
3
Decimal GPS Real Location:
50.76245
2.895355
Sequence:
4
Decimal GPS Real Location:
50.7641
2.898788
Sequence:
5
Decimal GPS Real Location:
50.76482
2.890791