GILLESPIE, Edgar Burns
(Service number 50831)

First Rank Bombardier Last Rank Gunner


Date 11 October 1881 Place of Birth Palmerston North

Enlistment Information

Date 28 March 1917 Age 35 years
Address at Enlistment C/o Dominion Hotel, Timaru
Occupation Accountant
Previous Military Experience Volunteers Time Served
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin John GILLESPIE (father), Gillespie's Line, Palmerston, Otago
Religion Roman Catholic
Medical Information Height 5 feet 9¼ inches. Weight 156 lbs. Chest measurement 35½-39½ inches. Complexion fair. Eyes grey. Hair fair. Eyes both 6/9. Hearing and colour vision both normal. Limbs and chest well formed. Full and perfect movement of all joints. Heart and lungs normal. No illnesses. Free from hernia, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Had varicocele. Vaccinated. Good bodily and mental health. No slight defects. No fits. Class A.

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation New Zealand Expeditionary Force
Unit, Squadron, or Ship 37th Reinforcements New Zealand Field Artillery
Date 9 May 1918
Transport Maunganui 
Embarked From Wellington Destination Liverpool, England
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With New Zealand Field Artillery

Military Awards

Campaigns Western European
Service Medals British War Medal; Victory Medal
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date


Date Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

September 1918 - Wounded in action & supposed to be progressing favourably, so news of his death came as a shock to his friends. He had suffered a gun shot wound to his right arm (fracture) and was admitted to the New Zealand General Hospital at Walton on 1 October 1918. On 25 November 1918 he was dangerously ill with pneumonia in the War Hospital in Dundee; admitted to the hospital on 23 November.

Post-war Occupations


Date 27 November 1918 Age 37 years
Place of Death War Hospital, Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom
Cause Died of sickness - influenza & double pneumonia. Heart failure.
Notices Timaru Herald, 4 & 9 December 1918; Manawatu Times, 6 December 1918; New Zealand Tablet, 26 December 1918
Memorial or Cemetery Western Necropolis, Dundee (Balgay) Cemetery
Memorial Reference DD. 4. 113.
New Zealand Memorials Memorial Wall, Timaru; Temuka RSA Roll of Honour; Temuka War Memorial; St Joseph's Church, Temuka; Temuka District High School Roll of Honour; Opihi College Roll of Honour (created by David Ellena, 2015); All Saints’ Anglican Church, Palmerston North; Temuka Rugby Club's Roll of Honour.

Biographical Notes

Edgar Burns Gillespie, born on 11 October 1881 at Palmerston North, was the fourth son in the large family (13) of John and Ellen Elizabeth (Ellie, née Cleary) Gillespie. John from Scotland and Ellie from Ireland had come to New Zealand on the same ship and, after meeting up again a few years later, they were married in 1874 at Renwicktown, Marlborough. Shortly afterwards John joined the police force and quickly gained promotion. Thus, the family members were educated at various schools around the country. Edgar was educated at Pukaruhe School, Taranaki, and Normanby School, before transferring to Foxton School. It was there that he did well, achieving a pass in the Standard II examination in 1891, Standard III in 1893, and Standard IV in 1894. In 1894 the Head Master doubted the advantage of publishing the names of successful candidates in the newspaper. When his father was transferred in 1897 to Temuka, where he was to remain for eleven years, Edgar attended the Temuka District High School. The Gillespie family members who had moved to Temuka in early 1899 became very much part of the local community, none more so than Edgar. In addition to his customary duties, Constable Gillespie made recommendations to the Charitable Aid Board, was Clerk of the Licensing Committee, Clerk of the Geraldine Licensing Court, handled subscription lists to aid an amputee, was Inspector of Factories for Temuka, was Clerk of the Court at Temuka, was registrar of electors and returning officer, served as a councillor, . . . .

Edgar was a clerk at Temuka, moving to the position of accountant, firstly at Temuka and by 1914 at Timaru. Like that of his father, his work and involvement expanded. In 1901 he was appointed the Temuka Borough Council Registrar of Dogs. From 1904 his brother Oswald Percy Gillespie, a constable, was appointed to that position. Edgar also engaged greatly in community activities – sports, church, cultural, social. In 1899 he and his brother Joseph appeared in the Temuka cricket team for the first inter-club match of the season, against Winchester, a match won by Temuka. He was selected for the team again in October 1903 for the match against the District High School and Teachers, and in December he played against Geraldine, when the team was soundly beaten. He turned out as an emergency in October 1905, and in Temuka teams on occasions in 1906.

At the annual meeting of the Temuka Football Club in April 1901, E. Gillespie was elected a member of the club. Along with his brothers Roland and Percy, he turned out for Temuka III in May 1904, and in July he was selected to represent the combined President’s trophy team against Star II. During the 1907 season Edgar was right intot. He got to represent South Canterbury, as was noted at the Temuka Football Club’s annual meeting in March 1908. It was at the annual meeting of the Temuka Bicycle Club in October 1903 that he was elected a member of that club. He appeared again on the cycling scene in 1906 when he entered the Rodgers’ Road Race, along with brother Percy.

A mention in association with the Temuka Rifles came in early February 1904, when he competed for the company’s Belt and Capt Richardson’s gold medal. Private E. Gillespie proved the winner for the second time in succession, with a very good score for his first season. When this completion was completed, Edgar finished in a very creditable fourth place. Soon he was competing in the Temuka Morris Tube match, finishing in the top ten. This was a competition in which he was to appear frequently for many years. He finished seventh in a handicap match for a club trophy in May 1904 and second for another club trophy in late July. He represented the Temuka Rifles corps in October in a match against Christchurch College Rifles, won by the Christchurch visitors. Firing for the Government money prizes in early 1905, Lance Corporal Edgar Gillespie won 5 shillings for third placing. A few months later he and his brother Roland represented the Rifles in their annual match against the Civilians, the “splendid contest” being won by the Rifles. He again enjoyed a top ten placing in a Morris Tube trophy event. A section of the firing for the Government medals for volunteer marksmen was held on Patiti range in late May 1905. The Government gave gold and silver medals for the best and second best shooting in each island and a silver medal for the best in each volunteer district. The conditions were very severe. Lance Corporal E. B. Gillespie was the second best placed of the Temuka Rifles and eleventh in the overall rankings. He competed in other rifle and Morris Tube events throughout the year, including a match against Christ’s College. Lance Corporal E. Gillespie and Private R. Gillespie represented Temuka Rifles at reunion of old and present volunteers held in August 1905. They were to appear in uniform and would take part in a euchre tournament. In January 1906 Edgar represented Temuka Rifles in a triangular shooting match (Ashburton, Geraldine and Temuka) at Geraldine. He met with considerable success in various shooting competitions throughout 1906-1907. In November he was an officer for a day at the Temuka Rifles’ camp. Corporal Gillespie represented the Temuka Rifles in a match fired against the Timaru City Rifles in January 1907. Corporal Gillespie was selected to represent the Temuka Rifles in the first match in the Euchre Tournament in early June 1907, when they played the Fire Brigade. He was a member of the Temuka team which won a Morris Tube match against Winchester later in June, only to lose in the August exchange. In August following, he had the best score in a match fired for a club trophy. Mr Gillespie was elected auditor at the annual meeting of the Temuka Volunteer Corps, held in April 1908, a position he again filled in 1910. Just days later, he won the trophy for a Temuka Rifles competition. And in April 1908 he took on even more responsibilities, being elected a delegate to the Association and treasurer at the annual meeting of the Temuka Morris Tube Club. On 19 November 1908 he was one of the representatives of the Temuka Rifles who were to turn out, in uniform, for a match against the Christchurch Defence Rifle Club. A match against the veterans took place on 22 April 1909, Edgar again selected for the team. During 1912 Edgar was very active with the Temuka Citizens’ Miniature Rifle Club. In May he gained a score in the top ten in a competition for a club trophy and he was selected in the B team for the Association matches which began in late July 1912. Mr E. B. Gillespie was one of many donors of trophies for shooting by the Temuka Territorials, in 1913.

A Chess Club was formed in connection with the Temuka Mechanics’ Institute in mid 1904. In one of the first events – Married v. Single – E. B. Gillespie contributed to a win for the bachelors. He featured in the top six throughout the club’s 1904 ladder tourney, reaching top ranking in September and maintaining that in October. His brothers Percy and Arthur also competed in the chess tournaments, they too meeting with success. The first match ever played by a Temuka team took place against Waitohi in October 1904, Temuka running out the winners, thanks largely to the Gillespie brothers. Playing for the Vice-captain’s team in a very enjoyable contest to open the 1905 season, E. B. Gillespie maintained his high standard. Chess was a very regular event in Edgar’s calendar over many years. In 1905 he was in second place behind his brother Roland in the Temuka Mechanics’ Institute Chess club tourney. The following year, he and his brothers Arthur and Norman represented Temuka in the chess match against Timaru, Edgar, however, losing as against his brothers’ wins. Temuka players were complimented on their vast improvement from their first outing the year before and finished with a draw. Chess continued through the winter of 1906, with Edgar keenly contesting places on the merit ladder. In July he reached the top, his brother Norman ousting Percy and Arthur for fifth place. In September Edgar, Arthur and Percy all qualified in the winners’ class for a trophy, Edgar drawn to play Arthur. By October Edgar alone was left, in the survivors’ class after losing one game. In August 1907, Edgar and two brothers were selected in the team to represent the Temuka Club in a match against the Timaru Club. The Temuka team which drove into Timaru “had the pleasure of winning the match by one game”. A return match was to be played on 29 August, the clubs having had two wins each. While the Temuka Club had a strong team ready for the challenge, Timaru enjoyed a convincing victory. Edgar was selected in 1908 for this exchange, and he and his brothers were in the team again for the 1909 match.

Edgar Gillespie was involved in a rather serious accident in late March 1907, when a shooting party had driven out from Temuka. A branch of the river they had to cross was running high and Messrs J. Lee and E. Gillespie, who were driving a light gig, got into difficulties. “Their horse was swept off its feet, the vehicle turned over, and they were soon struggling in the water.” Mr Gillespie got safely to land, but Mr Lee was swept down by the current before he got to a shingle bank from where he was rescued. Two valuable guns and cases, overcoats, rugs, and other property were lost, and the gig was wrecked. It was feared that the horse would be drowned, but it managed to struggle ashore some distance down the river. Gillespie and Lee returned home with other members of the party. The monetary loss was heavy, but it was fortunate that the outcome was not more serious.

It was at the annual meeting held at the end of March 1908 when Edgar Gillespie was elected secretary of the Temuka Catholic Club, the start of long, dedicated service. In May 1908, E. B. Gillespie, as secretary, was the contact for the programme of events (cycling, running, wrestling, tug-of-war, etc.) for the Empire Day sports at Temuka, conducted by the Catholic Sports Club. At a March 1909 meeting of the Temuka Catholic Young Men’s Club, following discussion, it was decided to form a football club – “Athletic”, with colours green and white, and three teams (seniors, juniors and presidents) to be entered in the S.C. Rugby Union competition, with which body affiliation was readily accepted. E. B. Gillespie was to be delegate to the Union. Earlier in the month he had been re-elected secretary of the Temuka Catholic Club. Edgar was elected to the office of president of the Temuka Catholic Club at the annual meeting in March 1910. At the smoke concert in April, a toast was proposed to “The President”. Reference was made to the excellent work done by Mr Gillespie during his association with the club, especially the remarkable success he brought as secretary in the past two years. In reply, Mr Gillespie said that he would do his best for the welfare of the club. He urged members to be active and practical, and to be true to themselves and their club. Also in 1910 he was appointed as the Athletic Club’s representative on the ground committee of the South Canterbury Rugby Union. In July 1910 the members fired for the president’s trophy, Edgar himself turning in one of the better scores. The next week teams, picked by the president (Mr E. B. Gillespie) and the secretary (Mr Jos. Tangney), took part in a euchre match, the secretary’s team winning, and the losing team providing the supper. In the third rifle match, Edgar finished in third place. Edgar and his brothers, Arthur and Roland, all represented the club in a euchre match against Waitohi. Late in 1910, the committee which included E. B. Gillespie, controlled the Temuka Athletic Football Club’s Road Race. His brother Percy was riding off scratch in this race. 1911 saw Edgar re-elected as President and as delegate to the Sports Association; 1912 again elected president. When an Irish delegate was to visit Temuka in June 1911, both Edgar and his father, John Gillespie, were elected to a committee to make arrangements. In 1913 he was able to hand over the reins but remained a member of the executive. E. B. Gillespie was one of the four pall-bearers from the Temuka Catholic Club at the funeral of a former fellow member in May 1911. The secretary and treasurer on a committee formed to organise a farewell function for the Rev. Father Fay in January 1912, Edgar spoke on behalf of the Catholic Young Men’s Club and handed Father Fay a purse of sovereigns. At the age of 30 Edgar Gillespie was not done with football, being selected in the Athletic team to play against Marist Brothers Old Boys at Christchurch on Easter Saturday 1912. He was again to the fore in the farewell function for Father Henri early in 1913. Shortly after, he was appointed secretary to the newly formed Temuka branch of the New Zealand Catholic Federation. Before long, he was the appointed the Temuka delegate to the Diocesan Council. In June 1913, the Catholic Club held a competition in the form of ‘set speeches’, for which the honours and trophy went to Mr E. B. Gillespie for his address on the late Mr Seddon. Another oratorical competition was held in August, Mr Gillespie giving the trophy for the winner. The September programme took the form of adebate – ‘Freehold v. Leasehold’, Edgar and partner advocating the Freehold. The result? After the members had spoken, the rev. chairman criticised the speeches and gave hints to the members on the art of public speaking. Success for Edgar in September, when he gained second place in the essay competition. In December 1913, Mr E. B. Gillespie accepted a position in Timaru. He “will be greatly missed in Catholic circles, in which he took a very great interest, more especially the Catholic Club, of which body he has been president, secretary, and a member of the executive, besides being secretary of the local branch of the Catholic Federation. His many friends wish him success in his new sphere of work.” (New Zealand Tablet. 1 December 1914 – Temuka report). It was well into 1914 when the the Temuka Catholic Club held a banquet in his honour and presented him with a shaving kit.

From 1908 bowling was part of Edgar’s routine. He was selected to represent the Temuka Club against Ashburton on New Year’s Day 1909. Late in the year he entered the club handicap singles event. The team which included Edgar had a narrow win in the games played at the opening of the new season in October 1910. This pursuit continued into 1911. All his activities and responsibilities were interspersed with other happenings. Edgar gave to the fund to pay for a new set of instruments for the Temuka Municipal Brass Band, in March 1904. His oldest sister Kate Madeline Gillespie married James Brosnahan in January 1906 at Temuka. Mr Edgar Gillespie acted as best man at the wedding of his sister May Gertrude to James Henry Howarth at St Joseph’s Church, Temuka, on 7 January 1908. A most enjoyable draughts match was played between Geraldine and Temuka players in July 1909. Edgar scored one win while his older brother William gained two. The match was won by Geraldine. A return match was arranged and both Edgar and William selected. E. B. Gillespie, Temuka, was listed as a registered accountant in the “Mercantile Gazette of New Zealand” of 8 September 1909. He was in demand as an auditor - March 1910 for the Temuka Boxing Club; May 1911, 1913 for the Temuka Municipal Brass Band, 1912, 1913for the Temuka Floral and Horticulture Society, 1912 for the Domain Fete Committee. In late June 1910, E. B. Gillespie was the successful shareholder who, being a double shareholder, got £300, in a disposal of cash by ballot at an extraordinary meeting of the Temuka Terminating Building Society. Edgar Gillespie acquired a section, with residence, on Birkett Street, Temuka, in October 1910. Soon after, he and his friend, Joseph Tangney, left Temuka for a month’s holiday. They travelled to Dunedin, then joined a steamer at Port Chalmers and, calling at Bluff, proceeded to Australia, to visit Hobart, Melbourne (during “Cup” week), and Sydney. In November 1911, Edgar engaged in yet another local organisation, being elected a member of the Temuka Caledonian Society. In 1912 he again acquired property. In August 1913 and March 1916 he was a pall-bearer at Temuka; and he was the best man at a wedding in May 1915 at St Joseph’s Church, Temuka.

Edgar Gillespie, who was the secretary of Election Committee for Mr T. Buxton, M.P., was recognised for his efforts at a function in January 1912. He was presented with a “gentleman’s companion, nicely fitted”. Mr Gillespie had “carried out his duties in a very able manner”. “Few knew the amount of work he had done,” said the committee chairman. “He deserved the highest praise that could be given to him.” Mr Buxton, himself, spoke of the splendid organisation of the secretary of the committee. Mr Gillespie thanked the speakers for their kindly remarks, and all for the way they had drunk the toast of his health.

At the outbreak of War, E. B. Gillespie was one of many in Timaru who subscribed to the War Fund (August 1914). Edgar Burns Gillespie was drawn in the fifth ballot and enlisted at Timaru on 28 March 1917, aged 35 years. He said, however, that he wanted till the end of May (1917). He was the last of seven brothers, the first of whom left with the Main Body; two had been rejected, one discharged from camp, one was in France, and one in camp. He was allowed till 28 May. Edgar was an accountant for J. Meehan & Sons in Timaru prior to enlistment. Single and Roman Catholic, he nominated his father as next-of-kin. Edgar’s address at the time was care of Dominion Hotel, Timaru. He was 5 feet 9¼ inches tall and weighed 156 pounds. Although he had varicocele, he was in good condition and classified A in the medical examination. He had served his time with the Volunteers.

The South Canterbury quota of the 30th Reinforcement left Timaru by train on 28 May 1917, after a very hearty send-off at the Drill Shed and at the Strathallan crossing. The men appeared in the best of spirits as they were put through some elementary drill at the Drill Shed. The Mayor wished them luck on their noble mission and a safe return. The Rev. J. H. Rogers told them they were going to assist the Empire, and that in giving themselves for that purpose they were making a noble gift. “They stood for the Cause – the cause of honour, of liberty, and of justice, the protection of the weak. . . . . . . they should remember that at the back of the Cause was God – the God of liberty, the God of mercy, and the God of justice.” The men were then photographed and, headed by the 2nd (S.C.) Regimental Band, moved off for the station. The train steamed out “followed by the cheers of the crowd, and the answering shouts of the departing soldiers.”

At Featherston Camp in September 1917, P. Corporal E. B. Gillespie , 33rd N.Z.F.A. was promoted to the rank of bombardier. He was on leave from Camp in October 1917 to undergo medical treatment for a dislocated finger. It was 9 May 1918 when E. B. Gillespie embarked with the 37th Reinforcements, New Zealand Field Artillery, on the “Maunganui”, disembarking at Liverpool, England, on 24 June. Shortly afterwards he reverted to the rank of Gunner. On 9 September he left for France and marched into camp at Etaples. Gunner Gillespie, 50831 was wounded in action on 28 September 1918 and was admitted to the Casualty Clearing Station before being transferred to the New Zealand General Hospital at Walton, England, on 1 October 1918. He had suffered a gunshot wound to his right arm (fracture). He was the fourth son of Mr J. Gillespie to be wounded. One son had returned and three others had been turned down as medically unfit. On 23 November 1918 he was admitted to the Dundee Military Hospital, dangerously ill with influenza and double pneumonia. He died there four days later (27 November), of influenza, double pneumonia and heart failure, only six months after he left New Zealand, aged 37 years. He is buried in the Western Necropolis, Balgay Cemetery, Dundee, Angus, Scotland, the lone New Zealand serviceman buried there, On the death certificate, Edgar's occupation was recorded as grain merchant's clerk and a Gunner in the 9th Battery of the New Zealand Field Artillery. The informant of his death was his brother, John E. Gillespie, of the Overseas Club, Dundee. Perhaps John had gone there from active service to be with Edgar. The Dundee Courier, published a death notice on 5, 6, & 7 December 1918 that read: “GILLESPIE. - Died at War Hospital, Dundee, 27th Nov., 1918, Gunner Edgar Burns Gillespie, New Zealand Field Artillery, fourth son of John Gillespie, Gillespie's Line, Palmerston North, New Zealand, and nephew of Andrew Gillespie, 47 Kinloch St., Carnoustie. (New Zealand Papers please copy.)” Death notices were printed also in the Timaru Herald, Manawatu Times and New Zealand Tablet – “the dearly loved fourth son of John and Ellie Gillespie, of Gillespie’s Line, Palmerston North”. Andrew Gillespie’s youngest son had died in the South African War.

News of his death was a great shock to his friends – among them Joseph Tangney at Morven - as he had been recovering well from his wounds. The news was initially conveyed to his parents by his brother John and was received officially from the Minister for Defence, and telegrams of sympathy were also received from Mr Massey and Sir Joseph Ward. He had been well known in commercial circles in South Canterbury. He was a splendid organiser, and whatever he undertook he saw to a successful conclusion. While in Temuka he took a great interest in sport. He was a member of the Temuka and Athletic Football Clubs, and represented South Canterbury against North Otago in 1906. In addition, he was both president and secretary of the Catholic Club. He was a staunch Catholic, a member of St Joseph’s Church, Temuka. Holding various ranks in the forces - gunner, corporal, bombardier, he saw considerable service in France. His medals – British War Medal and Victory Medal, plaque and scroll were all sent to his father in Palmerston North. Edgar saw considerable service in France. A notice calling for claims against Edgar's estate appeared in the Timaru Herald on 15 March 1919. He had made a Will which was in the custody of solicitors in Timaru. His father was named as executor of his Will, dated 3 May 1918.

Constable John Gillespie retired in early 1911, and in March was the recipient of handsome gifts and fulsome tributes, such was the esteem in which he was held. He and his family left Temuka in June for Palmerston North, where they were to make their home. Arthur left for Christchurch. And Edgar stayed. His brother John Edward Gillespie appears to be the only family member not to have been at Temuka. Back at Palmerston North, Mr John Gillespie was again involved in the community. In 1919 he lent his knowledge with regards to the unsuitability of a block of land for soldier settlement. He turned his hand to farming – on the block of land he had selected in 1881, and established a picturesque homestead, with adjoining poultry runs, a piggery, milking sheds, fat bullocks, thorough-bred horses. Mrs Gillespie who died in June 1924, and Mr Gillespie two months later, are buried in the Terrace End Cemetery, Palmerson North, many of their family alongside them. Four Gillespie brothers served in World War I; besides Edgar, there were John Edward Gillespie, Joseph Francis Gillespie and Roland Douglas Gillespie. John, a clothier and mercer, had his appeal dismissed. He was by then 40 years old. The eldest brother, William Andrew Gillespie, was listed in the Reserve Roll. Two younger brothers, Oswald Percy Gillespie and Arthur Creagh Gillespie, were also called up. Percy had already enlisted, while Arthur was drawn in the ballot, and the names of both were recorded on the Reserve Roll. Another brother, Norman McLeod Gillespie, had died in 1913, aged just 27 years.

Edgar Burns Gillespie is remembered on the Memorial Wall, Timaru, Temuka RSA Roll of Honour, Temuka War Memorial, St Joseph's Church, Temuka, Temuka District High School Roll of Honour, Opihi College Roll of Honour (created by David Ellena, 2015), All Saints’ Anglican Church, Palmerston North. His name is recorded also on the Temuka Rugby Club’s Roll of Honour, beneath the inscription ‘To the men who played the game.’ A memorial at All Saints’ Church, Palmerston North, erected in honour of the men and nurses of the district who fell in the great war, was unveiled on 31 October 1920. The preacher on the day said that the memorial had been erected by the men and women whose names appeared on it. Those who had placed it there were only the agents for those who had died. The men who had died had erected a memorial by their deaths. The names were not only those of the men belonging to the church, but of all the men of the district, irrespective of the church they belonged to. The second part of the memorial was the instalment of the great East window, in 1924, as a memorial to soldiers who died in World War I. It was also a thanksgiving for peace and for the men who had returned. General sir Andrew Russell said that the occasion should not be a time for depression, but one on which they should thank God that the sacrifices made by the gallant men who had died had not been made in vain. “The true memorial, he said, was that which we kept in our hearts.” Drawing back the flag, General Russell unveiled the memorial. Among the many names in the town of his birth is that of E. B. Gillespie.

The Roll of Honour erected at the Temuka District High School to perpetuate the memory of the ex-pupils of the school who lost their lives in the Great War, was unveiled in June 1921 in the presence of a large gathering, comprising nearly all the pupils of the school and some hundreds of adults. Proceedings commenced with the singing of “O God our help” and the saying of the Lord’s Prayer. The chairman said “These men went forth to do battle for right against a strong and mighty foe, knowing that they might not return to their own again. It was therefore our duty as fellow citizens to do something to keep their names ever green in our minds and hearts.” Fourteen months later the Temuka Borough memorial was unveiled before a very large gathering in the domain, including Temuka Territorials and Cadets, Temuka and Geraldine returned soldiers, the Temuka Pipe Band, the Salvation Army Band, the children of the district schools, national and local dignitaries, and local folk. Opening proceedings, the Mayor said “We regret that this occasion has arisen, but having done so we must look back with pride at the actions of those who rose to the call of the Motherland, which was in peril. Many of those brave boys who left these shores did not return, and we have erected this memorial to their memory, . . . “ Following hymns and scripture readings, His Excellency the Governor-General formally unveiled the monument and the local M.P. read out the names inscribed thereon.

On Anzac Day, 1927, a Requiem Mass was celebrated at St Joseph’s Church, Temuka. The celebrant preached a very stirring sermon based on the Book of Wisdom (Chapter III, Verses 2-5). He pointed out that the Gallipoli campaign and later “gigantic episodes” would remain for all time a wonderful symbol of the age-old courage of men. He reminded the lads present that the enormous sacrifices made by the soldiers of New Zealand and other parts of the Empire were helping them to have brighter and better lives, and that all should render thanks to God, who had delivered them out of the hands of the enemy. They had gathered to commemorate the landing at Gallipoli and also to set aside the day to show their deep and grateful acknowledgement of the services of the men who had fought and died for them on other fields of the great battle-front. “The light of immortality that flashed from the abandoned tomb of the risen Christ lingers on in every mound of Flanders mud and clay, the gullies of Gallipoli, the sands of Palestine and Egypt, on the quiet churchyards in English villages and on God’s acres in New Zealand.. . . . And to-day, before God’s altar, we remember them with the love we bore them and the pride we shall have in them,” he concluded. Before the Dead March was played by the organist, the names were read of those from the Temuka parish who had died “on the field of honour” – among them that of E. B. Gillespie.


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