The 98th appearance of Anzac Day will dawn tomorrow. 



People will gather together  in cemeteries.  Beside flag poles that stand in guard over regimented rows of headstones - the 'obvious' graves of those that have taken part in war service in some way.  Yes I'm also drawn to those graves when I'm walking around absorbed in my photograpy, but a more pressing issue is truly foremost in my mind. 




The Plight of Family Memorials



The words on family memorials were often the only comfort that families had in their loss.  No body was their privilege to bury.  These words etched into headstones scattered among the ordinary sections of cemeteries, painfully indicating a loved one that did not come home from war be it a death from illness, wounds or killed outright - those that have no resting place or are buried overseas.  Other family headstones memorialise deceased service people who have no 'military headstone'.  These memorials are often overlooked in comparison to the visual assault of the regimented rows of service personnel burials of which most of us recognise in RSA sections.



My concern is that these family memorials - often a source of such rich information for family genealogists and historians across the board are, in the majority of cases nearing 100 years old and weather, vandalism, environmental and geological conditions are taking their toll.  It is now more important than ever to capture these unique memorials before they are gone. 



My challenge for anyone reading this is to find a memorial and adopt it as yours, even tend to the grave.  Delve deep and discover the story of that lost ANZAC [or maybe an earlier or later conflict, South African, Crimean, WW2 etc - my memorial photography does not solely cease with ANZAC's]. So many of these families have now died out, with no one to tend to the graves, or maybe it is just that some families as yet don't have someone interested in their family history or indeed even know that this memorial is connected to their own tree.  I encourage you to share your findings online so others can learn and discover.


Following, find a selection of those that I've photographed and have completed some research on.  Please feel free to add any further information to the comments section of the photographs when the links are open and I invite you to browse through the all of my cemetery sets on Flickr.



     Click on each photo to take through to site. 


Waikumete cemetery - Auckland

..."Also in memory of

Killed at Dardanelles
May 30th 1915,
Aged 33"


Drury presbyterian cemetery - Drury

"In loving remembrance of

Lieut James FLANAGAN M.C. [Military Cross]

Dearly loved eldest son of

Robert & Fanny C FLANAGAN

Died on active service

At Grantham, England, 13th Dec 1918

Aged 24 years"


Linwood cemetery  - Christchurch

"Thomas Errol GUTHRIE M.B. Ch. B

Captain N.Z.M.C.

Killed in France 3 July 1916 aged 29 years"



Purewa cemetery - Auckland


"Also of our dear brother


William Edward SANDERS V.C., D.S.0., R.N.R. Master Mariner

who was killed in action with an enemy ship

August 14th 1917 aged 34 years

The path of honour is the road to glory"




Hillsborough cemetery - Auckland


In loving memory of

Sgt Ernest Oliver SPRAGGS 13/853

Died 24 July 1925

aged 36 years





Corporal Alfred George SPRAGGS 9/1976

Killed in action Le Cateau, France

7 October 1918

aged 33 years

[memorial only]




Linwood cemetery - Christchurch 

"Also their beloved son
Thomas James
Died at sea on H.M.T. Tahiti
7th September 1918
Aged 21 years"


Karori cemetery - Wellington

"In loving memory of

11/118 Wilmot F. POWELL, W.M.R.

Son of the above

Who fell on Chunuk Bair, Gallipoli

August 9th 1915 – aged 24 years"


Addington cemetery - Christchurch

"In loving memory of

Roland Leonard Walter

son of J & E BALDWIN

Killed in Action at Couzeancourt


9th September 1918

In his 28th year

"In a hero's grave he sleepeth"

Hillsborough cemetery - Auckland

17957 Driver
James Alexander BARKER
Died 8th December 1937 aged 60 years




Waikumete cemetery - Auckland


"Lt. Col. Edward SHERSON

N.Z.F.A. Auckland

Late Major 2nd Battalion

Auckland Reg. N.Z.E.F.


Beloved husband of


Killed in Action at Crevecoeur

Sept 30th 1918

Aged 51 years"


Sydenham cemetery - Christchurch
Earthquake damaged

Driver P R JONES
No 17301 N.Z.E.F.
Killed in Action France, 1917




LINKS: Military and family history:















©2014 All rights reserved Lees - including background image "Poppies in Bromley Cemetery" and page header image "Dead Mans Penny"