Lieutenant-Colonel James Waddell was born in Dunedin, New Zealand, in 1873, the son of a saddler. He went on to become one of the best tactical commanders the French Foreign Legion has ever known.

Médaillé Extraordinaire is both a big sweeping French story of World War One and a small New Zealand tale of one person’s quest for adventure, success and love. A feature film in development and an exhibition in French coinciding with centenary commemorations of the Somme. 

A la découverte du Lieutenant-Colonel James Waddell, sa vie, son histoire remarquable. Né dans une petite ville néo-zélandaise en 1873, le fils d’un sellier, il est devenu un des officiers les plus décorés de la Légion étrangère de la première guerre mondiale. A la fois un récit épique et un conte personnel.


4th July 2016 - James Waddell exhibition opens at Belloy-en-Santerre, France

 A New Zealand-made exhibition bringing to life the extraordinary exploits and military career of Lt-Col James Waddell has opened in France.

Launched on 04 July 2016, the exhibition is part of centenary commemorations of the Battle of Belloy-en-Santerre. The battle was a defining episode of the French Foreign Legion's rigorous First World War campaign history.

The opening of Médaillé Extraordinaire marks the first time the little-known story of Waddell, the only one of three battalion commanders to survive the battle, has been shared with a French audience.

The exhibition launch was attended by the General in command of today's Foreign Legion, as well as legionnaires, veterans of the Legion, dignataries and visitors from Germany, the United States, Spain, New Zealand and locals of the surrounding district of Santerre, Picardy.

With unseasonal rains a reminder of the wet weather afflicting troops one hundred years earlier, the day was a special one. A few photos of the commemorations at Belloy-en-Santerre follow.

 

 Foreign Legionnaires checking out the James Waddell exhibition

Foreign Legionnaires checking out the James Waddell exhibition

 Locals from the Santerre region and visitors learning about James Waddell for the first time

Locals from the Santerre region and visitors learning about James Waddell for the first time

 A panel from Médaillé Extraordinaire

A panel from Médaillé Extraordinaire

 Preparing for the parade down the main street of Belloy-en-Santerre

Preparing for the parade down the main street of Belloy-en-Santerre

 The French Foreign Legion in attendance at Belloy-en-Santerre

The French Foreign Legion in attendance at Belloy-en-Santerre

 Peggy Seeger, niece of American poet and Foreign Legionnaire Alan Seeger who died during the battle of Belloy-en-Santerre, plants an apple tree in commemoration of all those killed 100 years earlier

Peggy Seeger, niece of American poet and Foreign Legionnaire Alan Seeger who died during the battle of Belloy-en-Santerre, plants an apple tree in commemoration of all those killed 100 years earlier

 A memorial to the French Foreign Legion who fought and recaptured the village of Belloy-en-Santerre on 4th July 1916 was dedicated during the commemorations

A memorial to the French Foreign Legion who fought and recaptured the village of Belloy-en-Santerre on 4th July 1916 was dedicated during the commemorations


Media coverage of Médaillé Extraordinaire

 National Army Museum, Waiouru, NZ - blog

National Army Museum, Waiouru, NZ - blog

 Otago Daily Times news story

Otago Daily Times news story

 Twitter

Twitter

 Alliance Française Auckland - FB post

Alliance Française Auckland - FB post

 National Army Museum, Waiouru, NZ - FB post

National Army Museum, Waiouru, NZ - FB post

 Kea Europe & UK newsletter

Kea Europe & UK newsletter

 ACAP Bureau d'accueil de tournages Picardie - Film Picardy - FB post

ACAP Bureau d'accueil de tournages Picardie - Film Picardy - FB post

 New Zealand Embassy, Paris - FB post

New Zealand Embassy, Paris - FB post

 Centenary News -  UK website publishing   news and information about the First World War Centenary

Centenary News - UK website publishing news and information about the First World War Centenary

 WW100 NZ First World War Centenary programme news story

WW100 NZ First World War Centenary programme news story

 Amicale des anciens de la Légion Etrangère de Paris - Foreign Legion veterans' assoc - print newsletter

Amicale des anciens de la Légion Etrangère de Paris - Foreign Legion veterans' assoc - print newsletter

  Awarded 'le label Centenaire', the official seal of the French Government’s Mission du Centenaire de la Première Guerre mondiale.

Awarded 'le label Centenaire', the official seal of the French Government’s Mission du Centenaire de la Première Guerre mondiale.

  Supported as a WWI Cententary project by the New Zealand France Friendship Fund, a bilateral French/New Zealand Government fund.

Supported as a WWI Cententary project by the New Zealand France Friendship Fund, a bilateral French/New Zealand Government fund.