Leeston war memorial

Leeston war memorial

Leeston war memorial, c1986.

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Leeston memorial, 2010.

After the First World War, a group of Leeston residents bought an area of unused land called 'Market Square' in the centre of the township, both as a civic space and as the possible location of a war memorial. They vested it in the newly formed Leeston Town Board in 1924. The area was planted out with trees and shrubs. Initially referred to as the 'Soldiers Memorial Square', it later became known simply as 'Memorial Square'. The flanking streets were renamed Messines Street and Gallipoli Street. 

On 19 October 1924 Governor General Viscount Jellicoe unveiled the Ellesmere County First World War memorial in High Street alongside the square. This was an impressive sandstone cenotaph designed by Christchurch architect Henry St  A. Murray and built by the monumental masons J. Tait Ltd. It listed the names of 75 men from Ellesmere County who had given their lives: 32 from the Leeston Riding, 21 from the Irwell Riding, and 22 from the Southbridge Riding.

After the Second World War a plaque with another 24 names was added, being unveiled by Major-General Sir Howard Kippenberger on Anzac Day 1949. Some time later, perhaps about 1993, a plaque acknowledging service in the Korea, Malaya and Vietnam wars was also added; and in 2002 also a South African War commemorative plaque.

The Ellesmere County offices had been opened behind the memorial on 24 November 1927. It seems that after the Second World War a memorial plaque was installed at the entrance, listing the names of three men (former county employees?) who had given their lives. 

Memorial today

Site Style Ornamentation Unveiling Date No of Dead
Intersection Cenotaph Wreath, cross 19-Oct-1924 75

Community contributions

7 comments have been posted about Leeston war memorial

What do you know?

queeny owen

Posted: 10 Mar 2017

Im researching george amos johnson ..... is his name on the memorial

Christine Brunt

Posted: 05 May 2013

Thank you for your kind offer Lloyd. Ihave since visited Leeston and got lots of photos.An interesting development from Belgium. The war museum there as randomly chosen Ewen Taylor to use as their NZ soldier. Google "The Belgiums will never foget".

Christine Brunt

Posted: 04 Jan 2012

I am researching my family history. Ewen and Annie (nee Manson) Taylor lost a son Ewen (know as Jack) in WWI. Rifleman 44169. Died 08/01/1918 aged 41. I would have expected him to be included on the Leeston memorial. Do you know why not? Parents lived in Leeston most of married life (1867) and both are buried at Ellesmere Cemetery. Jack was single. Thanks.

Lloyd Clausen

Posted: 02 Sep 2010

The Leeston Panel has been omitted I can supply a photo if you wish. Lloyd

Ann goulden

Posted: 11 Oct 2008

This memorial is actually in Leeston township which is south of Doyleson not borth as on your map. It is very prominant, being in the middle of the road and acting as a roundabout.


Posted: 25 Aug 2008

Hi Stephen Thanks very much for this kind offer - you can email us images at [email protected] or, if you prefer, post to: History Group, Ministry for Culture and Heritage, P O Box 5364, Wellington, New Zealand. regards Jamie Mackay www.nzhistory.net.nz


Posted: 25 Aug 2008

I have pictures of various Ellesmere mermorials etc. Willing to send them in if you give me details Thanks Stephen