Christ Church memorials, Whangarei

Christ Church memorials, Whangarei Christ Church memorials, Whangarei Christ Church memorials, Whangarei

Christ Church Anglican Church, Whangarei, has four individual First World War memorial plaques on display. These are dedicated to the memory of the following servicemen: Lieutenant Noel Steadman, 15 (NA) Company, Auckland Infantry Battalion, killed at Krithia on 8 May 1915; Roy P. Bedlington, 1st Company Field Engineers, NZEF, killed in action at Gallipoli on 30 November 1915; Claude Henry Hill, Machine Gun Squadron, killed in Palestine on 25 November 1917; and Flight Lieutenant Trevor Alderton, RAF, killed at Narborough, England, on 16 June 1918. At one time there was also a plaque honouring Sergeant T.J. Drake, who was killed in action in 1915, but its current whereabouts is unknown.

The church also once had two congregational First World War memorials. On 30 July 1922 a side chapel in the south transept of the old church was dedicated as a memorial to communicant parishioners who had died on active service during the war. This included amongst its furnishings a rimu and totara  altar built by a parishioner, Mr H.F. Chandler. Sometime later war memorial gates were also erected at the north-eastern end of the cemetery.

The memorial gates were either demolished or removed when the new church was built in 1963. It seems the memorial chapel also disappeared with the removal of the old church.

After the Second World War, Mr and Mrs F. Watters, donated a brass eagle lectern to the church in remembrance of their sons Ventry and Terrence Watters, who both served in the RAF during the war. According to Florence Keene’s history of the church (p. 89), a parish book of remembrance was also compiled listing all the men and women from the whole of Whangarei parish who had served in the armed forces.

Sources: ‘Local and General’, Northern Advocate, 31/7/1922, p. 4; ‘Florence M. Keene, Cross over Kauri: A Centennial History of the Parish of Whangarei, 1960, pp. 62, 89, 152; John and Sheila House, Churches of Northland [CD-ROM], Whangarei, 1995, file vol. 5, p. 79; The Anglican Parish of Whangarei Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Dedication of Christ Church, Whangarei, 2013, pp 48-52.

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