Auckland Baptist Tabernacle memorial door

Auckland Baptist Tabernacle memorial door

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The neo-classical Auckland Baptist Tabernacle in Upper Queen Street has a war memorial right inside its front entrance. The tabernacle’s first memorial was a roll of honour. On 27 June 1915 the Reverend Knowles Kempton unveiled a tablet inscribed with the names of 40 men from the congregation who had gone overseas on active service. Five of them had been wounded at Gallipoli and one had been killed (Lance-Corporal Edgar Ogilvie).

On 4 August 1921 Sir Theodore Cooper unveiled a memorial door to honour all those who had since given their lives. The following text was inscribed on the architrave: “They loved not their lives unto the death”.  Beneath this was a plaque with the dedication: “To the glory of God, and in living memory / of the heroic sacrifice of those who / fought and fell in the Great World War / 1914 – 1919”.

Memorial lamps on either side of the frame illuminated two brass tablets listing the names of 33 men who had died: Arthur Atkinson, Edward Atkinson, George Bate, Bernard Blackie, William Bloxham, Herbert Brookbanks, Carl Brown, Harold Canham, Arthur V. Carbines, Norman Carter, Leonard Clarke, George Coldicutt, Cecil Cutler, Thomas Dayle-Taylor, Fred Dingley, Stanley Edmiston, Mervyn Fry, Fred Jones, Gilbert Jackson, Horace S. Kendon, Hubert Le Cren, Norman McDermott, Thomas McIntyre, Alex McKenzie, Leonard Martin, Fred Mettam, Edgar Ogilvie, Harry Phillips, Victor Rhodes, Burton Russell, Arthur Wagstaff, Reginald Wagstaff and Samuel Williams.

After the Second World War, two further tablets were added to the memorial. One bore the names of three men who had given their lives: “1939-1945 / ‘We will remember them’ / Vivian R. Eady / Flying Office R.N.Z.A.F. / James Whyte / Flying Officer R.N.Z.A.F. / Frederic R. Whitten / Sgt. Pilot R.N.Z.A.F.” The other was inscribed with the text of King George VI’s standard message to the next-of-kin of deceased: “1939-1945 / ‘The Queen and I offer / our heartfelt sympathy in your / great sorrow. We pray that / your country’s gratitude / for a life so nobly given in the / service may bring you some / measure of consolation.’ / G.R.I.”

Sources: ‘Roll of Honour Unveiled’, Auckland Star, 28/6/1915, p. 7; ‘Baptist Tabernacle’, NZ Herald, 21/8/1919, p. 5; ‘Baptist War Memorial’, NZ Herald, 3/8/1921, p. 8.

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