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Henry Arthur Prujean

Henry Arthur Prujean, one of three brothers who all served in France during World War 1, was killed in action Monday 9th September 1918 at Havrincourt, Pas-de-Calais, France.
He is buried in the Hermies Hill British Cemetery, Pas-de-Calais, France alongside Lance Corporal John Sillifant (DCM) who was also killed in action on the same day. There are five other NZ soldiers buried in this cemetery; James H. Harrison, John D. Bennett, Harry Thistlewaite, Charles R. Ralph, and John K. Smyth.


Link to the Official History of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade (Trescault Spur, September 9th, 1918)

According to the NZETC text the main line of resistance extended south-east from Havrincourt. The Grand Ravine (Ravin de Trescault) runs SW-NE about half a kilometre south of the town. It seems that the NZers were on the northern flank (north of Trescault) as the double objective for the premiminary action on the 9th September was "feeling the strength of the enemy and weakening his hold on the Trescault Ridge and Spur". So it also seems likely that they advanced up north-easterly through the wooded ravine. There's a small British cemetery on the south side of the ravine from Havrincourt which can be seen in the first photo.

Glen Sillifant, nephew of Lance Corporal John Sillifant writes; "Jack was my uncle. He was brought up as a christadelphian and had been a conscientious objector on religious grounds. He volunteered to go as a medic but ended up as a sniper. On the day he died he volunteered to go out and bring back another sniper from no man's land. Communications were down and a barrage was going to be sent over. The other sniper got back but Jack did not. From all we know about him he was a wonderful young man."

Photos of Havrincourt and surroundings taken in 2018.


Grand Ravine British Cemetery looking south-west   Looking towards Havrincourt with Trescault behind.   Havrincourt history (in front of chateau)   Hermies Hill British Cemetery

At the National War Memorial Carillon in Wellington one of the Bells of remembrance is the "Havrincourt bell". It is the nineth bell and is dedicated to the memory of Sergeant George Johnson who died at the Battle of Havrincourt in the main action on 12/13th September 1918. The Havrincourt bell has a musical pitch of C natural which is significant in my composition Nocturne (Havrincourt 1918) for baritone saxophone and double bass (2017) in that the work resolves onto a unison C in both instruments for the final chord.