Pukekohe war memorial hall

Memorial Memorial Memorial Memorial Memorial Memorial

Pukekohe War Memorial Hall.

On 4 October 1958 Governor-General Viscount Cobham formally opened the Pukekohe War Memorial Town Hall. This imposing concrete edifice on the corner of Edinburgh Street and Massey Avenue incorporated a lobby, a large auditorium and a concert chamber. RSA clubrooms at the rear of the building and a detached building housing Plunket rooms also formed part of the complex.

During the ceremony, Viscount Cobham placed a wreath on the stone of remembrance at the main entrance. This polished marble memorial stone bears the words, “1939 – 1945: We Will Remember Them”, along with a bronze wreath and bronze crusader’s sword.

Unlike other such public halls in the vicinity, the hall was built solely as a Second World War memorial. However, in 1980 the central pillar of the Pukekohe First World War memorial gates was relocated from Roulston Park to a new site beside the town hall’s main entrance so that Pukekohe’s civic Anzac Day service could be held on the one site.

On 11 October 1992 a memorial stone commemorating the presence of New Zealand and American forces at military camps in Franklin during the Second World War was unveiled outside the hall  The inscription on the bronze plaque attached to the stone read: "50th Anniversary: Recognizing the Presence of New Zealand and United States Forces in the Pukekohe Military Camps and the Contribution of Citizens of the District During World War II. Franklin Remembers. October 11 1992". The accompanying map (since removed by vandals) identified the following sites within Pukekohe: the racecourse, showgrounds, Rooseville Park, and Moult House.

There is no roll of honour in the town hall. Instead, a memorial 'chaplet' (chapelet) at the Pukekohe RSA cemetery in Wellington Street incorporates rolls of honour listing the town or district's fallen in both world wars.

There is also a unique roll of honour on display in the RSA clubrooms behind the town hall. Labelled the “‘C and C’ Roll of Honour”, this lists the names of 22 former staff members of the local firm, Cooper & Curd Motors Ltd, who served in the armed forces during the Second World War, including Lieutenant A.V.S. Curd and Private R. J. Adam, who were killed on active service.

Sources: 'Memorial Town Hall A Blaze of Colour', Franklin Times, 6/10/1958, p. 4; 'War Memorial Hall Opened', ibid., p. 5; 'Pukekohe Town Hall Opened', NZ Herald, 6/10/1958, p. 15; Borough of Pukekohe Golden Jubilee, 1912-1962, ed. N.M. Morris and N.K. Brown, Pukekohe, 1962, p. 39; 'War Memorial Changes Place', Franklin Courier, 9/4/1980, p. 3; Hilary Freer, 'He Laid a Wreath at His Own Feet', Franklin Courier South Auckland Section, 22/7/1980, pp. 1, 31; Keith and Nona Morris, Franklin Remembers the War Years, 1939-1945, Pukekohe, 1992; 'Nation Must Honour Those Who Defend It', Franklin County News, 20/10/1992, p. 9; June and Jack Hinton, Commemorative Booklet: The Friendly Invasion of New Zealand by American Armed Forces, June 1942-October 1944, Wellington, 1993.

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