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MEMORIAL TABLET.

UNVEILED AT SUMNER. - The unveiling of the tablet erected by the Stunner Borough Council in memory of the men of Sumner who fell during the Great War took place on Saturday afternoon, in the presence of a large assemblage of residents and visitors. Ttie Mayor, the Hon. J. Barr, M.L.C., who presided, apologised for tho absence of Ci". V. ii. Hamilton and the lie v. Dean Bowers. The Si mner Borough Council, he said, had considered that, no .matter wliiat might be done in the way of a Peace Memorial, it would show its Appreciation of those residents who had gone to the front an i mad!e the supreme sacrifice. The result was the tablet which he would later unveil. He would, however, like to express tb© Council's appreciation of the action of those citzens who had contributed donations and added to those of the Borough Council. He asked the ■Rev. W. J. Williams to address the gathering. Mr Williams said that the gathering would recall a similar one which took place in the dark early days the war. Conscription was not then in force, and the Mayor of Christchurclicame down, and at the same spot, with others, urged the young men to volunteer for service. The burden of that speech' was, "Soung men, your country needs you. "Will you have your own or the German flag*?" He asked if any to-day had any cause for regret at the steps that had been taken? Was there, then, any alternative? Wliat would have been the result, to-day, if the young men had not willingly offered for service? Should' we have cared to see the German flag flying above us? Should we have liked to have been trampled on by the victorious Hun? The mimes on the tablet joined in telling us, most pathetically, that the price paid had. been worth it.. The dead had given their lives to make the \ world fit) for honest, peace-loving people. They were, entering; the sunsh'iie of life with their dream of love and prosperity; but they had heard the call to duty an<s hcidl dared to obey. Their names would never be re"ad without a feeling of admiration and reverence for their glorious deeds. The Hon. J. Barr said that he felt it a great honour to unveil the tablet. Right down, the pathway of the history of the British Empire would be seen the recurring necessity for sacrifice. What they were celebrating was but another milestone on the way. Those who went forth did 1 not go to sack cities, or for selfish motives, but to defend the Great Empire. The freedom, of the Empire had been threatened. They had gone to preserve it, and see that Germany was kept in her proper place. They went to maintain the oom,forts which we at present enjoyed. The stone would call to them, "Lest we forget." Generations to come would reflect upon the significance of the period 1914 to 1919. There was a tendency, already to forget. How could they fail to remember those who had! made the supreme sacrifice? In Gallipoli, Palestine, and Flanders were "The crosses row on row," and the tablet, to the people of Sumner, would represent those crosses ' and remind them that their pleasures, freedom, and comforts had been made possible through sacrifice. To many tne granite slab would always be a stone of sorrow. The roll of names would- remind them that as their own boys, their playmates, their schoolmates and companions, they had been clean lads and promising youths, who in the course of time would have proved themselves worthy citizens. "Lest we forget," the tablet had been erected to remind all that these had helped when Great Britain had gone out to help a weaker brother, as it was hoped she always would "do. Mr Barr then withdrew the flag and tin veiled the memorial. At this stag© "The Last Post" was sounded by .Lieutenant Angus Don, bugler of the Fourth Contingent, South African War, and an offioeir in the Great War.

The Ber. W. McAra, who spoke next, eaid that tbe day had been a wonderful one for the Borough of Sumner. Two great sacrifices had been made in the world for the nation. The first had been made by Almighty God and His Son Jesus Christ. All. the freedom we possessed and the advantages we enjoyed were attributable to that. It bad lifted us out of darkness and superstition, and had given us a dearer knowledge of the Creator. To the fathers and mothers of the fallen, it was no small comfort to know that tneir Father in Heayen had been before them in that matter, and foe called upon all to think what it meant. That afternoon they had met to do honour to those who had paid the great, price of war. The least they could do was to make up their minds to show t># their own actions the gratitude tliey felt, and to show their reverence for. the supreme sacrifice made, by lives cleansed from many of the vices of today. They should decide to live worthily a© free men, free from stain, and allow nothing to darken their understanding or pollute their lives. Then, and then only, would the death* of our heroes not have been made in vain. The parents who had spared their sons were deserving of every credit and of the greatest sympathy _ it was possible to extend'. They wouid also never forget that sympathy was also due to those men who had come home shattered in body and nerve. The greatest honour was due to both. He was proud to bo present, and proud that the residents had turned out so nobly and so wen. The programme commenced with the singing of the National Anthem, and included a prayer by the Ilev.' E. O. "VV. Powell and the hymns "All people that on earth do dwell" and "O God our help in ages past." A very impressive ceremony was closed by the Benediction, pronounced by the Rev. W. McAra. Those present included the borough, councillors, the scholars from the various schools, Hie Sea Scouts, and representatives from the tennis, croquet, bowling, golf, football, cricket, lifesaving, and rifle clubs. The memorial consists of a slab of Bluff p-anite, six feet by three, in a setting of Oamaru stone. The wholo has been let into the eastern wall of the Council buildings, and will be illuminated by a powerful lamp at night time. The inscription which has been cut into the stone is as follows: — The Great War. 1914-1919. In Grateful Remembranoe of those who, leaving'Sumner to take part in the Great War, made the Supreme Sacrifice. Private It. Ash, Lieutenant C.- L. P. Black, Trooper M. Clayxbn, Private R. Dalton, Private N. V. Fitchctt. Gunner F. P. Hibell, Private G. G. Hibell, Private G. V. Hill, Lieutenant G. S. Lavie, Private C. M. Maffey, Private H. 0. Marquet, Private A. G. Peck, Corporal F. W. Pilcher, Corporal F. H. G. Preston, Private W. Richardson, Trooper E. H. Senior, Trooper G. W. Smith, Private R. Stevens, Corporal D. Street, Private G. Stringfellow, Lieutenant H. M. Wright.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/CHP19230326.2.73

Bibliographic details

MEMORIAL TABLET., Press, Volume LIX, Issue 17722, 26 March 1923

Word Count
1,199

MEMORIAL TABLET. Press, Volume LIX, Issue 17722, 26 March 1923

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