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Remembrance

Memorial Drive

Following a precedent established for the Centennial in 1940, the Government subsidised the building of World War II memorials in local communities by contributing £1 for every £1 raised locally. The subsidy was to apply to "useful living memorials" that were community oriented. Over 700 applications were received and the Government paid out over £1.6 million (about $125 million in 2012 terms). The construction of a local hall was the most popular undertaking and they are seen in hundreds of small communities throughout the country.

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The Devonport Borough Counci was slow to react and by early 1952 had only managed to articulate a broad plan to plant trees along Lake Road from the business area to the borough boundary, which was the small stream in the vicinity of Roberts Avenue. Each tree was to carry a plaque bearing the name of a Devonport man who had lost his life in the conflict. The project cost was to be borne entirely by the Council without subscriptions or Government funding.

mem_gardenA start was made on ANZAC Day 1952 with 38 trees planted by local schoolchildren on the flat stretch of Lake Road between the gasworks and the hill up to King's Store. This stretch was gazetted as Memorial Drive. Gardens in the shape of a cross are on each side of the lines of trees.

The names of those commemorated had been established from school and church records, but it proved incomplete, largely because of post-war dislocation. Seventeen further plaques were placed in 1956 and more names continued to come forward in the 1960s and later. Three were added in 2013. Sixty-two plaques currently line Memorial Drive.

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A full depiction of Memorial Drive and those honoured is here.