St Aidan's Church memorials, Remuera

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St Aidan’s Anglican Church, on the corner of Ascot Avenue and Remuera Road, Auckland, has a variety of war memorials. These include a First World War memorial cross and memorial lych gate, Second World War memorial stained glass windows, a Scouts Group roll of honour, and several plaques which honour individual soldiers.

The first Great War memorial unveiled in the church was a carved oak font cover. The Bishop of Auckland, Dr A.W. Averill, dedicated this to the memory of the Lieutenant Paul G. Clark on 27 April 1919. Other individuals who were subsequently honoured included Henry John Innes-Walker, who was killed in action on 25 April 1915; John Stewart Dagg, who was killed at the Somme on 15 September 1916; Edgar Woodward Boucher, who was killed in action on 12 October 1917; his brother, Arthur Francis Boucher, who died on active service on 6 February 1919; and Major Guy Spencer De Morlaix Cheeseman, who was wounded at Gallipoli, but survived to die peacefully on 22 May 1927.

On 23 April 1922 Governor-General Lord Jellicoe unveiled the parish’s principal memorials: a memorial cross and a memorial lych gate. The 19-feet high Celtic cross was built of Australian granite, mounted on a concrete base faced with scoria rocks, and displayed a bronze replica of a Crusader’s sword on one face of the shaft. Below this was the inscription: ‘For God and Country / “Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet / Lest we forget—lest we forget!” / 1914—1918’. The names of 35 men from the parish who had given their lives were inscribed on the other three faces of the shaft.

The lych gate was funded by Mr H.W. Hudson and his daughter in in memory of their son and brother, Lieutenant Evan Gibb Hudson. A brass plate on the roof beam is inscribed, ‘In memory of / Evan Gibb Hudson Lieut. N.Z.E.F. / and of / “those others” / who gave their lives in the great war for civilisation / 1914-1918 / “Their names liveth for evermore”’. The lych gate and cross were both designed by K.O. Atkinson Abbott.

After the Second World War a further 48 names were added to the cross (the names on the lower tier). The cross was moved nearer to Remuera Road when work began on the new church hall in 1967. Ten years later the cross was turned to face the church driveway and the inscriptions were restored.

Within the church, four pairs of stained glass windows honour both those who gave their lives during the Second World War and the contribution of women to the war effort. The Bishop of Auckland, Richard John Simkin, unveiled the first two pairs on 7 December 1947; Governor-General Sir Bernard Freyberg unveiled the others on Anzac Day 1949. The dedicatory plaque reads: “These four windows / are a thank-offering / to Almighty God for his mercies / during the Second World War / and in honoured memory of / the men of this parish who gave / their lives in the struggle for / freedom and whose names are / inscribed on the cross in the churchyard.”

The church’s sanctuary lamp was installed in 1944 to honour Pilot-Officer Henry Cumberland Stapleton-Cotton DFM, killed in action on 19 July 1942. At the back of the church there is a St Aidan’s Scout Group Second World War roll of honour which lists 66 names (four deaths).

Sources: ‘Local and General News’, NZ Herald, 30/4/1919, p. 6; ‘St Aidan’s Memorials: Lych Gate and Cross’, NZ Herald, 22/4/1922, p. 10; ‘Memorials Unveiled: Ceremony at St. Aidan’s’, NZ Herald, 24/4/1922, p. 8; T.R. Everall, A Time to Remember: St Aidan’s Church, Remuera, 1905-1980, Auckland, 1980, pp. 12-13, 16-18, 25; Angela Caughey, From Royal Mail to e-mail: A History of St Aidan’s Church, Remuera, Auckland, 2005, covers, pp. 47, 49-53, 89-90, 92-8, 128, 151, 210-11; Jenny Carlyon and Diana Morrow, A Fine Prospect: A History of Remuera, Meadowbank and St Johns, Auckland, 2011, p. 110.

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