Originally there were 33 names on the plaque all in alphabetical order: two further names, J T Lilley and H W Cox were added later. The rimu board had gone by the time I came to know the board after the demoli-tion of the old school buildings (1971-1972), while it was displayed in the window of what had once been the confectioner’s shop on Layard Street, part of the RSA clubrooms. Today, unfortunately, it has also been badly cracked.
The names on the marble are mainly those who were former pupils of Avondale School, even if only for two of three years back in the 1890s as their families passed through from others places. Sometimes, though, there appear to be names from those families living in or near the area, whether on the school rolls or not. I’m still waiting for more of the military files held at Archives New Zealand to become available, as well as opportu-nity to do more research via Papers Past and the BDM records, but here are some of the stories behind the names.
Here are the names on the marble roll, in order, along with what I’ve found so far on each man and his family:
George Edmond Vernon Aimer
According to the early rolls for Avondale School, Vernon, Grace and Kenneth Aimer attended standards classes at Avondale School from March 1897 to June 1899, children of Edmund Baxter Aimer and Annie Elizabeth née Feek. The Aimers were living at the Hokianga in 1884, Dargaville c.1888, then Drury by 1895. They must have spent a couple of years here, be-fore moving on to the city and Parnell.
Vernon Aimer was a clerk for Cahill & Co from when he was around 14 years old. At the age of 16, he came into strife with a youthful indiscretion when he was found guilty of breaking and entering his employers’ premises in 1903, and served a 12 month sentence. From that low point though he bounced right back.
AN AIRMAN'S DEATH LIEUT. G V AIMER A POPULAR AUCKLANDER Lieutenant George Vernon Aimer, a member of the Royal Flying Corps, who was accidentally killed whilst flying near London on June 22, was the eldest son of Mr and Mrs C B
Aimer, of St. Stephen’s Avenue, Parnell. He was born in Hokianga in 1886, and was educated in Auckland. For a time he was employed in the Government Forestry Department at Rotorua, sub-sequently taking a position in Fiji. Shortly after return-ing to Auckland, in 1910, he entered the service of the Bank of New Zealand as correspondence clerk, a posi-tion he held for about five years. In August of last year he obtained extended leave of absence, and proceeded to England for health reasons. After a short time in hos-
The Avondale Historical Journal
Volume 13 Issue 74
I’ve been interested in rolls of honour for some time, but up until recently have only ever photographed them. Since information has become more readily available from Archives New Zealand, coming up to the centen-ary of the First World War, I started looking deeper into a roll of honour in Pt Chevalier, and started finding the stories behind most of the names. Avondale has three WWI rolls of honour, as well as memorials to the fallen in our two cemeteries. Of these honour boards, only two are listed on the Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph database at the time of writing (October 2013). These are: the St Jude’s honour tablet displayed in the church entrance (unveiled by Archdeacon MacMurray 21 August 1921, on dedicating a new font and baptistery), and the 1917 Oddfellows board, once displayed at the Oddfellows Hall at St Georges Road, but now hung in the entry foyer at the Avondale RSA on Layard Street. The Avondale School’s roll of honour (1919) seems to have been largely overlooked.
The Avondale School Marble Roll of Honour
The “marble roll”, as I’ve called it, is a marble slab dis-played beside the RSA’s 25pr field gun in the garden on Layard Street (pictured on the front page):
A very solemn function took place on Saturday after-noon in the Avondale Public School, when a memorial tablet in memory of old boys of the school who had given their lives in the great war of 1914-18 was un-veiled. The tablet, which is of white marble, was pre-sented by Mr J Binsted and was unveiled by Mrs Binsted. There was a very large attendance of parents and relatives. Mr H A V Bollard, Chairman of the school committee), who presided, said the district owed a deep debt of gratitude to the donor. Kipling's "Recessional" was beautifully sung by the children, un-der the conductorship of Mr. Gough. Mr. R B Nesbitt (chairman of the Road Board), Mr Darrow (headmaster), Mr J L Scott, and Mr. King (member of the Board of Education) also addressed the audience. The tablet, which was covered with the Union Jack, was unveiled by Mrs. Binsted while the children sang the beautiful hymn "Abide With Me." The tablet is nicely mounted in rimu in the design of the setting sun, by Mr H Spargo. The tablet is headed: "In memory of the brave boys who gave their lives in the great war, 1914-18."
, 22 December 1919)
Avondale’s WWI Rolls of Honour
Lisa J Truttman