Ōamaru war memorial

Ōamaru war memorial

Against the backdrop of a 13-metre tapering column of Sicilian marble set on a granite base, T.J. Clappteron's bronze soldier consoles a small child who symbolises the ideas of humanity for which the war was believed to have been fought. E. Miller was the memorial's designer.

North Otago people fought their own battles over this memorial. For months they argued whether it should be utilitarian or inspirational. Then they argued about where it should be placed. Even more vigorously, they argued about whether it should carry the names of the fallen.

Governor-General Jellicoe laid the foundation stone on 14 October 1924. On Anzac Day 1926, Lieutenant-Colonel James Hargest unveiled the memorial and placed in a locked receptacle a bronze casket containing the names of the district's soldiers who had served overseas.

The North Otago Roll of Honour, which lists more than a thousand names, was removed from the casket in 2003 and placed in the North Otago (now Waitaki) Museum. It has since been professionally conserved and the names transcribed.

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4 comments have been posted about Ōamaru war memorial

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Phil Braithwaite

Posted: 23 Apr 2015

Regarding Lt-Col.James Hargest CBE, DSO & Two Bars, MC:
Following his service in Gallipoli and the Western Front, Hargest was given the WWII command of the NZ 5th Infantry Brigade. During the Battle of Crete, he displayed poor judgement in the positioning his forces around the vital Maleme airfield and in controlling their movements once the battle commenced. The loss of the airfield allowed the Germans to gain a foothold and the Allied forces were eventually evacuated from Crete.
Although Hargest basically LOST Crete for the Allies, he somehow received a bar to the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) that he'd been awarded in WWI!
In North Africa, Hargest led his brigade during Operation Crusader in Nov.1941 but was captured by German forces. Held in a prisoner of war camp in Italy, he eventually escaped and returned to England in late 1943. He earned a second bar to his DSO for his efforts.
He served as an observer with the 50th Division for the landings at Normandy and was killed by artillery just over a month after D-Day.

Rowan Carroll

Posted: 26 Nov 2010

The beautifully illustrated face plate and hand-written roll-of-honour is now in the safe-keeping of the North Otago Museum Archive after damp and mould were discovered to be causing severe damage in the 1990s. Funding applications to have the book conserved have not been successful, but we have halted further deterioration.


Posted: 31 Jan 2009

Thanks, Adam - fixed this now. Regards Jamie Mackay Web Editor www.nzhistory.net.nz

Adam Brown

Posted: 29 Jan 2009

The sculptor's name is Clapperton, not Claperton. For some of his work on Scottish War Memorials, see here: http://scottishmonuments.s2.bizhat.com/viewtopic.php?p=267 Regards Adam