Belgian Ambassador unveils plaque for WW1 heroine

18 July 2017

First World War Queen Elisabeth Medal recipient Elizabeth Pinfold will be honoured this Friday with the unveiling of a plaque by the Belgian Ambassador, His Excellency Jean-Luc Bodson, at her restored grave in Karori Cemetery.

Image of Elizabeth Pinfold

Elizabeth Pinfold became involved in charitable causes to support the war effort shortly after war was declared in August 1914. She was instrumental in the creation of the Belgian Relief Fund – raising tens of thousands of pounds in donations and clothing to send to Belgian refugees and military personnel.

The event is part of the on-going WW100 commemorations says Councillor Jill Day. “From 2014-2019 we’re commemorating the centenary of the First World War, remembering significant events and the contributions made by Wellingtonians during this time.

“We are paying tribute to all tales of heroism, courage and bravery shown throughout the First World War – and those who stayed home to hold the fort contributed equally as much to the campaign as those who went overseas,” she adds.

The plaque unveiling has been done in partnership with the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Senior Historian at the Ministry, Imelda Bargas, has been working on a project that provides more information about the New Zealand women who received the Queen Elisabeth Medal.

“Following the First World War, Elizabeth was one of a group of thirty-three women in New Zealand to be honoured by Belgium for their work in support of the country and its citizens.

“In 2014, I visited Elizabeth’s grave and saw that there was no information marking her contribution. This inspired me to start a project on the group of medallists,” Imelda says. “I am very pleased that Wellington City Council have restored Elizabeth’s grave and created an information panel to highlight her contribution to Belgium during the war.”

Four generations of Elizabeth Pinfold’s family, including her 80-year-old granddaughter, will travel from all over New Zealand to participate in the occasion. Members of the public are also invited to attend the event, which will be held at 2pm on Friday 21 July in Karori Cemetery.