The Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s New Zealand Memorial at Caterpillar Valley is the largest New Zealand Memorial to the Missing in the world.
After the Armistice, the Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission, in consultation with its member governments, built memorials across the former battlefields to commemorate servicemen with no known grave: those whose bodies could not be recovered; whose graves had been unrecorded, lost or destroyed in the fighting; or whose remains could not be identified and were buried beneath a headstone bearing the inscription chosen by author Rudyard Kipling ‘A Soldier of the Great War. Known Unto God’.
The New Zealand Memorial at Caterpillar Valley is one of seven Memorials to the Missing of New Zealand forces on the Western Front. Each is located at a cemetery close to the area in which the servicemen fought and died. In Belgium over 2,370 are commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial and on memorials in Messines Ridge British Cemetery and Buttes New British Cemetery. In France more than 1,700 men are commemorated on this memorial and those in Cité Bonjean Military Cemetery, Grévillers British Cemetery and Marfaux British Cemetery.
The memorial was designed by Arthur James Scott Hutton, who served with the Royal Engineers during the war, and Sir Herbert Baker. It commemorates over 1,200 servicemen of New Zealand forces who fell during the Somme Offensive between 31 August and 25 October 1916.