'Our second home': Hundreds of Kiwis commemorate Le Quesnoy WWI victory

Hundreds of Kiwis have flooded into a small town in northern France to commemorate one of New Zealand's finest moments of the First World War. 

It's been exactly 100 years since Kiwi soldiers cunningly snuck into Le Quesnoy defeated the Germans, and liberated thousands of local residents. 

All 42 of descendants of Leslie Averill - the first New Zealand soldier to climb this very wall, and liberate the town of Le Quesnoy are there for the commemorations. 

"I will remember this forever," Mr Averill's great-granddaughter Katie Mortenson says. "[It's] an incredible tribute to the people who lost their lives and survived the war."

Families of World War I soldiers were at the heart of the day's ceremonies. Ms Mortenson laid a wreath - as did dozens of others who've also made the journey over.

It's hard to describe the scale of what our Kiwi soldiers encountered in the town. The walls at Le Quesnoy are just massive. 

Once soldiers got over the top, they defeated the Germans and freed thousands of Le Quesnoy residents.

The gratitude still exists to this very day - with hundreds of locals attending commemorations, including mayor Marie-Sophie Lesne.

"Thank you all for being in love with Le Quesnoy. We're in love with your memory, it's so important for us," Ms Lesne says.

It's reciprocal for Aucklander Warwick Mitchell, an honorary Le Quesnoy resident.

"This place is like our second home."

This is his 12th visit, he was chosen to play the bagpipes at the inauguration of the town's newest attraction, The New Zealand War Memorial Museum.

"It stirs a huge emotion in me, and I often find after I've played, that's when I break down and I cry."

He's not the only one. There were few dry eyes by the time the sun set over this piece of incredible Kiwi history.