All Blacks to honour war dead at Tomb of Unknown Soldier in Paris

NZRU     07 Nov 2013     NZRU

The ceremony will take place at the daily Rekindling of the Flame at 6.30pm, Wednesday 6 November (France time) ahead of New Zealand’s match against France on Saturday 9 November.

The flame burns on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and is rekindled each day in a special ceremony by the Committee of the Flame. The Unknown Soldier who died in World War 1 was buried in January 1921 and the flame has burned on his tomb since November 1923.

A New Zealand Rugby representative will lay a wreath and participate in the rekindling ceremony. Along with All Blacks, New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew and President Ian MacRae, will also be attending.

“We are very honoured to have this opportunity to remember those who lost their lives in the two World Wars at a special place in Paris which commemorates the heavy price France paid in both wars,” said Ian MacRae.

“I am sure all of us will also be reflecting on the huge sacrifices New Zealand made in these and other conflicts.”

13 All Blacks lost their lives during World War 1, including Sergeant Dave Gallaher, captain of the 1905-06 Originals and seven were killed in World War II.

The French Minister of Veterans’ Affairs, Kader Arif, will lead the ceremony alongside the New Zealand Ambassador to France, Rosemary Banks. Several French government representatives, the President of the French Veterans’ Association and New Zealand Embassy staff will be among the many guests present.

To mark Armistice Day on 11 November, the All Blacks' alternate white strip for Saturday’s Test will feature a poppy.