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Dedication of Thames' iconic WW1 monument prior to ANZAC day


Dedication of Thames' iconic WW1 monument prior to ANZAC day

The Thames War Memorial has always been a prominent reminder of the tenacity, bravery and honour of our World War I generation.

From the evening before ANZAC day this year, the memorial that stands tall over Thames will be lit up 365 nights of the year to honour our local men killed and to commemorate all our returned servicemen and women.

It will shine white overnight then red at 6am on the morning of ANZAC Day this year and from that day forth, it will be lit 365 nights of the year.

"I love the fact that the monument will be a beacon for Thames both day and night and a constant reminder of our fallen," says Thames-Coromandel District Council Mayor Sandra Goudie. "We will not forget those who fought in the war and are named on that beacon," says Mayor Sandra.

Our Council contributed funding for the monument to be lit at night, however there was still a shortfall of $4000. Seeking to ensure that the monument could shine each night in its position overlooking town, two local businesses Shaun Richards Electrical and Twentymans Funeral Directors covered the shortfall of around $4000.

“This monument is extra special to me as I have three family members names on the memorial,” says Adrian Catran, owner of Twentymans in Grahamstown, Thames. “Shaun and I had discussed this project for a number of years now and realised if we didn’t do something whilst the monument was being refurbished, it might never happen.”

Its lighting follows a restoration last year - thanks in part to a Lotteries grant of $59,990 - after cracking in the plaster surface was discovered. This was completed for 11 November 2016, the 98th anniversary of Armistice Day.

A dedication is planned the evening before ANZAC day, beginning with the Thames Fire Brigade providing transport to the Cenotaph from the Twentymans Car Park between 5.30pm and 6pm.

Pipe Major Peter Jones of the Pipes and Drums of Thames Valley will play a Lament and Thames historian, Captain Russell Skeet will give a brief history of the memorial, followed by speeches by Mayor Sandra, Coromandel MP Scott Simpson, and an address by RSA President David Sinton on the sacrifices made and the reason for ANZAC Day.

The Dedication and Blessing will be performed by RSA Padre Harvey Dalton and the RSA is providing a small tot after the dedication at their clubrooms – Thames Workingman’s Club.

According to a report of the unveiling published in the Thames Star, the tablets listed the names of 107 men who had died and 267 men who had also served (a total of 374 names). An appeal for more names in 1929 brought in the names of a further 190 men, 20 of whom had been killed. However, it seems that no additions were made to the roll of honour on the cenotaph until 1953, when a further 47 names added. Two more names were inscribed in 2014, giving a total of 316 names of those who served.

The Pipes and Drums of Thames Valley is a district Pipe Band which draws its members from the greater Thames Valley area and holds its practices in Paeroa. The band is keen to promote learners of the pipes and drums and enquiries can be made regarding tuition to the Pipe Major for piping or to the Drum Major for drumming.


Order of the evening

1730 -1800 hours - Transport provided to the Cenotaph from Twentymans Car Park
Courtesy of Thames Fire Brigade
1550 - Piper - Pipe Major Peter Jones of the Pipes and Drums of Thames Valley - Lament
1800 - Welcome – Captain Russell Skeet
1805 - Mayor Sandra Goudie
1810 - MP for Coromandel – Scott Simpson J.P.
1815 - Address by RSA President Mr David Sinton
1820 - Dedication and Blessing by RSA Padre Harvey Dalton
Piper to play ‘Amazing Grace’
1830 - Back to Twentymans car park and meet at then Thames RSA for coffee and rum.


About ANZAC Day and the Thames Monument


ANZAC Day on April 25 is the day that Australian and New Zealand soldiers landed at Gallipoli in 1915, when 2779 New Zealanders - about a sixth of those who served on the Gallipoli Peninsula - lost their lives in defeat.

“It may have led to a military defeat,” according to 'ANZAC Day', an introduction on NZ History by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, “but for many New Zealanders then and since, the Gallipoli landings meant the beginning of something else – a feeling that New Zealand had a role as a distinct nation, even as it fought on the other side of the world in the name of the British Empire.”

The red poppy is an international flower of remembrance. Around the world, many wear it on Armistice/Remembrance Day, 11 November, but in New Zealand and Australia it is more often worn on ANZAC Day.

Meanwhile the Thames monument was unveiled by Major C.E. Andrews OBE on 25 April 1925. A tall, imposing and sparsely decorated concrete column, octagonal in shape and set on a foundation of mortared rocks, the memorial has a marble dedicatory panel and a roll of honour consisting of seven inscribed and one blank memorial tablets.

To find out what other ANZAC Day services are going on around out district www.tcdc.govt.nz/anzac2017

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