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.