St Mary's Church memorial, Nelson

Close up view of the plaques at the bottom of a pieta sculpture of the Virgin Mary holding the dead body of Christ in her arms. The plaques list the names of men who died during the First World War.

On Anzac Day 1923 a unique war memorial was unveiled by Archbishop Redwood at St Mary's Catholic Church, Nelson. This was a pieta: a sculpture of the Virgin Mary holding the dead body of Christ in her arms. It was housed in a grotto on the western side of the church.

The base was inscribed with the words, "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord," and the names of 12 men from the parish who had given their lives. (These were reported on unveiling as John P. Mathews, Peter J. Mathews, Allan Shain, George H. Bishop, Arthur R. Fellowes, Leo. C.W. Hoult, Mostyn J. Armstrong, Peter J. Jenkins, Norman K. Roughton, John J. McBride, Herbert Neason and James D. Tomlinson.)

The grotto and the base of the memorial have been reconfigured since. A tablet now appears at the foot reading, "Roll of honour / We have loved them in life. / Let us not forget them / after death. St Ambrose."

A Second World War roll of honour is also displayed (C.J. Bridger, B.L. Burgess, P. Byrne, R.E. Chapman, P.J. Don, F.E. Fauchelle, A.E. Fowler, L.J. Fowler, S. Jensen, J. Kroupa, M. Monopoli, L.C. O'Connor, D.L. Ralfe, M. Silke, J.U. Vaughan).

See: 'St Mary's Church: Archbishop Redwood unveils memorial', Nelson Evening Mail, 26/4/1923, p. 5; Anthony Harris, The Beauty of Your House: The Nelson Catholic Parish, 1844-1994, Nelson, 1994, p. 71.

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