Featherston cemetery First World War memorial

Featherston cemetery First World War memorial

Featherston cemetery memorial Featherston cemetery memorial Featherston cemetery memorial Featherston cemetery memorial Featherston cemetery memorial Featherston cemetery memorial Featherston cemetery memorial

Featherston soldiers cemetery war memorial obelisk, war memorial wall and cross of sacrifice.

Soldiers who died at the Featherston Military Training Camp were buried in a designated portion of the Featherston Cemetery, generally known as the Featherton Military Cemetery or Featherston Soldiers' Cemetery. On 11 December 1917 the Minister of Defence, Sir James Allen, unveiled a memorial to the men buried there. This was a 22-ft high concrete obelisk set on a granite base. It was inscribed on the front as follows: 


Seventeen names were inscribed on another face. In November 1919, the names of a further 180 soldiers and nurses - most of them victims of the recent influenza epidemic - were  added to the memorial, inscribed on marble tablets set around its base.

The New Zealand Government later erected a cross of sacrifice at the other end of the cemetery, in the style designed by British architect Reginald Blomfield for the Imperial War Graves Commission. This was unveiled on Anzac Day 1931.

On 11 November 2005, a memorial wall (the 'Messines Wall'), was dedicated behind the memorial obelisk. This was created by local landscaper Paul Hopkins, using old privately erected headstones which had been stored at the back of the cemetery since being replaced by official standardized headstones in 1970. The memorial wall project was funded by the South Wairarapa Rotary Club to mark the 30th anniversary of the twinning of Featherston with the Belgian town of Messines.

On 15 November 2020, the Featherston Lioness's Club, not long before its dissolution, unveiled another commemorative sculpture at the cemetery.

See: 'Featherstone Cemetery: memorial to dead soldiers', Press, 7/12/1917, p. 3;  'Soldiers' memorial: monolith at Featherston', NZ Herald, 12/12/1917, p. 8; 'Local and general news', NZ Herald, 7/11/1919, p. 6; 'Cross of sacrifice: Featherston memorial', Evening Post, 28/4/1931, p. 16; David Yerex, Featherston, the First 150 years, 1857-2007, Featherston, 2007, pp. 127, 132; 'Old headstones in new memorial', Wairarapa News, 28/12/2005, p. 21; Adele Pentony-Graham, 'Memorial wall dedicated to soldiers who died at Featherson', NZ Genealogist, no. 297, January/February 2006, p. 32; Neil Frances, Safe Haven: The Untold Story of New Zealand's Largest Ever Military Camp, Featherston: 1916-1919, Masterton, 2012, pp. 138-45; Tim Shoebridge, Featherston Military Training Camp and the First World War, 1915-27, Wellington, [print edition] 2012, pp. 34-5; Imelda Bargas and Tim Shoebridge, New Zealands' First World War Heritage, Auckland, 2015, pp. 172, 218, 222; 'Community group unveils sculpture', Wairarapa Times-Age, 20/11/2020, p. 5.

See also Featherston camp death register for more information about the people listed on this memorial


Community contributions

6 comments have been posted about Featherston cemetery First World War memorial

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gillian freeman

Posted: 24 Oct 2011

Cenotaph info on Raymond Bray, died Featherson 1918. He was my husband's grandfather and we wld like to know if any other relatives asked for research, ie xtra info posted by u re Lillian Maud Bbray his wife, they had 2 girls Nancy and Joan, Joan was my husband's mother. Nancy's family have not enquired, but other family in chch may have, but we do not know their whereabouts or names, very secretive family, no history passed on at all. Any info wld b great. rgds Gillian Freeman.


Posted: 25 Nov 2010

I would appreciate a photograph of John Wilson Filmer thanks.. so sad so many soldiers died of Influenza at the Camp.. can be added to the ever growing collection. Maori TV are doing two soldiers for their Anzac Day Programme next year from this cemetery, Thomas Clark and Guy Bridgeman. My collection on the soldiers will be shared with Heritage Museum in Featherston as well. thank you. [email protected]

Teresa Neilson-Watt

Posted: 25 Nov 2010

Hi Adele, I have been given a small box of my Gt Grandmother's photographs, and in them is one of John Wilson Filmer, in his army uniform, at what must be Featherston army camp, 7 days before he died on 10/11/18(no relation to me). I am in contact with a man with the same surname, who may well be related (he is investigating). Would you like me to send you a copy of the photo? Kind regards, Teresa Neilson-Watt

Blair Howe

Posted: 29 Dec 2009

My Grandfather RQSM Howe is buried at Featherston. He died of the flue on 11/11/1918 He left a widow and three children. Two boys and a girl. One of the sons later died of TB as a 17 yr old. Do you have a photo ohis grave? Blair Howe Myalup Western Australia.

Adele Pentony-Graham

Posted: 23 Jun 2009

If anyone has a soldier buried at Featherston, I would appreciate learning more about his family back ground please.. where he came from, town, photograph anything of interest, all the headstones have been photographed and on various websites to help us with this project. Thank you