Russell war memorial

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Russell did not have its own community war memorial until 2000. For some years after the formation of the Russell RSA in 1947, Anzac Day services were held at Te Rawhiti Marae, some distance from Russell. Anzac Day parades within Russell itself ended either at the public hall or at Christ Church Anglican church (which contained rolls of honour for both world wars).

However, in 1999 the RSA spearheaded a campaign to build a war memorial on the village green as a Millennium project. Work began in August 1999 and was completed in February 2000. The new cenotaph was formally unveiled on Anzac Day 2000. It was constructed of dressed stone slabs, stood on an aggregated concrete plinth, and was surmounted by a red granite ‘flame’. The bronze plaques attached include one with a quote from Pericles; a roll of honour listing the names of 10 local servicemen who gave their lives in the First World War and 11 who gave their lives in the Second World War; the RSA crest; and a depiction of a Māori warrior.

Although the cenotaph is now the main focus of Anzac Day ceremonies in Russell, the tradition of holding dawn parades at Te Rawhiti has continued.

Sources: ‘Millennium Project for Russell’, Russell Lights, vol. 2, issue 3, 11 Feb 1999, p. 1; ‘Millennium Memorial’, Russell Lights, vol. 2, issue 15, 29 July 1999, pp. 1, 6; ‘Anzac Day’, Russell Lights, vol. 3, no. 5, 13 Apr 2000, p. 5; ‘Cenotaph Allows Russell its First Dawn Parade’, NZ Herald, 25/4/2000, A6; Johnnie Kempthorne, ‘The Russell RSA’, Russell Review, 1998-1999, pp. 45-59; [cont.], Russell Review, 1999-2000, pp. 69-77.

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