Cambridge District War Memorial

Cambridge District War Memorial

The Cambridge District War Memorial was unveiled by Governor-General Viscount Jellicoe on 11 December 1923.

The memorial, designed by Auckland architect Nigel Wallnutt, was situated in Jubilee Gardens, in front of the Cambridge Town Hall. It was laid out in the shape of a cross, at the crux of which was a sandstone obelisk with crosses formed in relief on all four sides. The obelisk was inscribed on the eastern side: “To the Glory of God and to the Immortal Memory of the Cambridge men who gave their lives in the Great War, 1914-1918”; and on the western side: “They shall be as the Stones of a Crown lifted up as an ensign upon the land” [Zach. 9:16].

On the northern side was a marble sculpture by Richard Gross of a New Zealand soldier stripped to the waist (as at Gallipoli): this represented Youth giving up his life in service. The recumbent lion sprawled at the southern side represented imperial loyalties. At the foot of the cross, some distance from the obelisk, was a sandstone sarcophagus. This bore three bronze panels, the central one was inscribed, “Tell Britain / ye that mark / this Monument / faithful to her / we fell and / rest content”; the flanking panels listed 71 names.

On Anzac Day 1952 the memorial was rededicated, by which time a tablet with the names of two South African War veterans had been added; the two First World War roll of honour panels had been replaced by black granite tablets inscribed with 88 names (a smaller tablet with a further eight names was later added); and two freestanding concrete pillars had been placed alongside the sarcophagus to support tablets inscribed with a total of 75 Second World War names.

The South African War tablet seems to have disappeared since, although a tablet honouring service in later wars has been added.

See: ‘Now Westward Gone’Waikato Times, 12/12/1923, p. 6; ‘Our Glorious Dead’Waikato Independent, 13/12/1923, p. 5; 'War Memorials Unveiled in Drizzling Anzac Rain', Waikato Independent, 28/4/1952; Jock Phillips, To the Memory: New Zealand’s War Memorials, Nelson, 2016, pp. 156-7.

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