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Devonport Field of Remembrance

The first Field of Remembrance was held in the grounds of Westminster Abbey in November 1928. That year only two Remembrance Crosses were involved. But it began a tradition that took root and has grown over the decades. In New Zealand, the most notable Field is that created each year by the Whangarei RSA Trust, where over 500 crosses are displayed annually. Others include New Plymouth, Napier, and Christchurch so far.

These Fields have grown from the 2009 event at Narrow Neck where five thousand crosses were installed as part of the Passchendaele Memorial Museum’s exhibition entitled “Passchendaele: The Belgians Have Not Forgotten”. The Devonport RSA was a principal participant in creating that Field commemorating the 5,000 New Zealanders killed on the Western Front.

The Passchendaele Field at Narrow Neck in 2009

NZ’s Field of Remembrance Trust has launched the White Crosses Project as a nation-wide commemorative programme acknowledging the 100th anniversary of events of World War One. More than 110,000 New Zealanders served overseas during that conflict – over 55,000 were wounded and 18,500 died. A National Cross of Remembrance has been established in Te Papa and it is intended that communities throughout New Zealand create their own Field of Remembrance.

The Devonport RSA resolved to play a leading role in establishing a Devonport Field of Remembrance to focus the Devonport community’s reflection on one of the most significant events of the 20th century. There are over 160 of Devonport’s sons who died in World War 1 and more who have a connection or association with Devonport.

World War 2 saw another 100 of Devonport's sons killed and the Field has now been expanded to include those casualties plus two losses from the South African War. A personalised cross for each of those brave men will be placed on Windsor Reserve for each ANZAC Day, Remembrance Day, and on other special commemorative dates. The field will remain for some days on each occasion while the community reflects of the price of freedom.

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The initial Field of Remembrance on Windsor Reserve, November 2013

The Devonport Museum has previously created a display of photographs and details of many of the casualties. It is intended to build on that work by seeking more records from families, conducting further research, and for local schools to study the background of residents and families that were involved. The stories that are created about individuals, families, our community and our nation will become a legacy for future generations.

Anzac14

The Field for Anzac Day 2014

For specific WW 1 commemorations on other than Anzac Day and Remembrance Day, the Field will be estbalished with only WW 1 crosses. The first such event was for acknowledgement of the Declaration of War on 4 August 1914 and the commencement of hostilities. The Field was laid in the forecourt of Holy Trinity Church in Devonport to complement a Memorial Service.

HT

The Field at Holy Trinity Church

Belmont

The Field at the Belmont Rose Gardens to acknowledge the actions
by NZ Forces in Egypt and Palestine in January/February 1915

TGS

Takapuna Grammar School hosted the Field for the
centennial of the Battle of Chunuk Bair

The Field for Remembrance Day 2015
at Windsor Reserve

Field Anzac 16

The Devonport RSA Point-of-Contact is Fred Wilson. He would welcome any contributions, photographs, assistance or support by email at devonportrsa@xtra.co.nz or on 445-8938.

Please also contact him if you wish to remember a relative who was not originally from Devonport. Space can be made in the Field for additional crosses provided by other than the RSA. Details of how to go about are here.

If you are interested in creating your own Field of Remembrance, our experiences have been documented to provide some details and ideas for you to use - read more