French silver ferns for NZ war graves


In a small French town there's an army of people who have dedicated themselves to looking after the Kiwis who never came home from the Great War.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is carefully crafting headstones with silver ferns to mark the unknown soldiers who died in the Battle of the Somme.

Work supervisor at the commission Jim Wright says the ferns need to be cut precisely.

"There is a lot more stone to cut out because it's a very small fern. They take about an hour and a half, a standard headstone."

The commission replaces 7000 headstones a year, sending them to cemeteries in 154 countries around the world.

Mr Wright says the number of headstones at the Somme act as a stark reminder of what took place almost 100 years ago.

"It's for the families, for the public, for me. It's the biggest advert for peace and it shows what can happen in a war, so we have to keep that name alive."