Armistice Day – St Luke’s Honours Board

Armistice Day – St Luke’s Honours Board

Glynn Cardy

Sun 11 Nov

St Luke’s Honour’s Board

The following is an abbreviated version of research done by Allan Davidson

On the 11th November 1918 when many countries celebrated the end of fighting in the First World War, New Zealand was not only dealing with the grief associated with the casualties the war had brought over the last four years. The influenza epidemic, resulting in some 9,000 deaths, was at its most virulent between October and December 1918.  By compulsory order of the health officer very restricted opportunity was given for churches to meet on the 17 November, the closest Sunday after the Armistice was declared, as seen in this advertisement which appeared in the New Zealand Herald on the 16th November.

St Luke’s had been vacant since the retirement of its founding minister, the Rev G.B. Monro in March 1918. The advertisement for the service on the first Sunday after the Armistice indicated the way in which St Luke’s was restricted to one service.

A search of the St Luke’s Session and Board of Managers minutes for November 1918 reveals no resolutions or references to the end of the war.

It is not until February 1919, when the matter of erecting a Roll of Honour was raised at the Board of Managers’ meeting, that the war was mentioned.

In April a decision was made “That the names on the roll of honour to be erected in the Church be limited to those young men who were members or adherents or were connected with the Church during the period of the war.”  There were difficulties in reaching consensus about whose names should be inscribed.  It was decided to leave the matter in the hands of the subcommittee.

For grieving parents and relatives of soldiers killed in the war, without a body to bury and no grave to visit in New Zealand, memorials took on special significance as surrogate headstones.  One wonders what kind of debates went on over who to include and who to leave off and the pain that was caused over the exclusion of names from memorials.

The design first presented to the committee included a cross.  Some members of the committee, probably reflecting an anti-Roman Catholic sentiment, took exception, and the final design had a burning bush.

The lettering on the original Honours Board was completely re-done after the Second World War in order to incorporate the names of those who served during that conflict.

Sixty-five names are on the 1914-1919 Honours Board, including fourteen who “Gave Their Lives”. Those who died in the date order of their deaths were:

James Ross, aged 33, killed at Gallipoli.

Gordon Milligan, aged 20, died at the Somme.

Albert Cranwell, aged 28, died at the Somme. 

Gordon Larner, aged c. 22, died of wounds received in France. 

William Monro, aged 22, died from wounds in France.  He was the youngest son of the Rev G.B. and Mrs Monro.

Eric Perry, aged 33, was killed in action in Egypt, 9 January 1917.  

Frederick Bowell, died on the New Zealand hospital ship, HMS Marama.  

Horace Wattam, aged 21, killed in action at Messines. 

Erni Bond, aged 21, killed at Passchendaele.

Roland Ward, aged 23, killed at Passchendaele.

Edward Craig, aged 34 died of wounds at Passchendaele.

Archibald Mitchell, aged 34, killed at the Somme.

Neil Smart, aged 28, died of influenza at Featherston.

Arthur Ramsay, aged 20, died of influenza at Trentham.

Among those from St Luke’s who survived the war were:

Emily Beattie.  Emily trained as a nurse. She served with the New Zealand Army Nursing Service (NZANS) with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force.

Bessie Maxfield.  She trained as a nurse and enlisted in the NZ Army Nursing Service.  She served at Trentham and sailed on voyages of the New Zealand hospital ship, Maheno. She was with a troop ship in 1918 when there was an outbreak of influenza resulting in high morality. Bessie was mentioned in despatches for her work, but she was denied the Royal Red Cross medal because she had not served long enough.

Ormond Burton, is the best known of those listed on the St Luke’s Honours Board. An active member of the St Luke’s Bible Class he trained as a teacher. He served at Gallipoli in the New Zealand Medical Corps. He transferred to the infantry and fought in France and remained with the army until the end of the war. He was awarded the Military Medal and was injured several times. After the war he wrote the history of the Auckland Regiment and later The Silent Division. He became a committed Pacifist, founding the Christian Pacifist Society with Archibald Barrington in 1935. Ormond became a Methodist minister and was dismissed from the Methodist Church in 1942 because of outspoken opposition to war. He was arrested several times for speaking against the war serving imprisonment for a total of three years. He wrote about his experiences In Prison. He was restored to the Methodist ministry in 1954 and the Methodist Conference posthumously passed a resolution in 198 regretting their action of 1942.

John Thomson “Tom” Macky, was the grandson of John Macky, who arrived in Auckland in 1854 as the province’s second Presbyterian minister. “Tom” trained as a Presbyterian minister and served as a Young Men’s Christian Association officer in France and London, 1916-1919.  He was Eleanor Stanton’s grandfather.

William Ryburn, went overseas with the thirteenth reinforcements in 1916 and served in France and the Persian Gulf, returning to New Zealand in 1919. He married Hilda Tizard (Helen Burton’s sister) and like his brother-in-law, Ormond, he became a pacifist. After training as a Presbyterian minister he went to India in 1922 as a missionary where he became a distinguished educationalist. He was a prolific author writing over 60 books and booklets.