Topic: Roll of Honour, Wharenui School

Topic type:

Roll of Honour board located at Wharenui School to recognise former students and staff of the school who served in the First World War

How the Roll of Honour Board came in to being

The idea of a Roll of Honour board listing ex-scholars of the school who had enlisted for military service in the war was first suggested by the correspondent of the 'Riccarton Whispers' column of the Star newspaper on 7 August 1915. When the school committee met later that month they resolved to procure a Roll of Honour board for the school.

A social and dance evening was held in September 1915 to raise funds for a board. The Star correspondent noted thatWharenui School Roll of Honour Board

   "the following ex-scholars are either at the front or in camp: - (Clarence) Roy Harris, William Lodge, George Stokes, Leo and Ralph Richardson, Leslie and Victor Tregonnning, Clarence Palmer and Ray Cook".

When the Roll of Honour board was unveiled William Lodge would not appear on it. There is no record of a Ray Cook in the school register although this could be an incorrect reference to Robert Gray Cooke who did attend the school (but is also not on the Roll).

In November 1915 a flag was procured by Mr George Witty, MP for Riccarton, who put it up for auction to raise funds for the Belgian and Red Cross funds. My Witty won the bidding then gifted the flag to Wharenui School. It would be hung over the Roll of Honour board when this was unveiled.


The Roll of Honour unveiled

The board was unveiled at Wharenui School on Saturday 24 November 1917 by Mr G. Witty, M.P.  Among those present at the ceremony were Messrs G. Witty, M.P., R. Fletcher, M.P., C. H. Opie, Chairman of the Canterbury Education Board, J. Jamieson, E. H. Andrews, and A. Peverill, members of the Board. Mr S. A. Staples, chairman of the Waimairi County Council, was present, also several members and ex-members of the Riccarton Borough Council.

The money for the purchase of the Board was raised by the Wharenui School Boys' Hockey Club. According to The Press (26 November 1917) the Roll of Honour contains the following names:

R. Harris, V. Tregonning (returned), L. Richardson, G. Stokes (returned), C. Palmer, R. Richardson, R. Calvert, H. Palmer. P. Lummis, R. Coates (returned), N. Fraser, A. Henery (killed in action), R. Hodder, P. Lowe, A. Blackburn, H. Manson, H. Lane, L. Harris, L. Tregonning, R. Alley, E. Fine, O. Colling, H. Eaton, and Harry Palmer*. Further names are to be inscribed, and three of the school staff, Messrs Hutton, Williams, and Maxwell, are also with the New Zealand forces.

* Harry Palmer already appears sixth on the list, so this should read 'Arthur Palmer'

More names added

Further names were to be inscribed and even though the three staff, Messrs (William Barrie) Hutton, (Owen William) Williams and (James Ernest) Maxwell were mentioned in the newspapers, their names would not appear on the Roll. The other names not yet inscribed when the board was unveiled in November 1917 were:

R. Vincent, J. Archibald, C. McSeveney, R. Graveston, H. Johnston and H. Ormandy.

Reginald Vincent had enlisted on 20 October 1914, James Archibald was killed in action in France on 1 October 1916, Cyril McSeveney had just enlisted on 3 May 1917 and Herbert Johnston had enlisted on 14 March 1917 yet none of them had made it onto the Roll at that point in time. Richard Graveston and Harry Ormandy enlisted in 1918.

A correspondent for the Star reporting about the school committee meeting of April 1918 noted that Harold Eaton, Reginald Vincent and James Archibald were added to the Roll of Honour board. The correspondent may have been misinformed as Harold Eaton was already on the Roll at it's unveiling. There is no report indicating when the final names were added: C. McSeveney, R. Graveston and H. Ormandy

The means by which the list of former students of the school who had enlisted for military service were compiled can be guessed at. It would seem that the school solicited information from parents and relatives who still had connections with the school. Rewi Alley who enlisted in March 1917 was not mentioned in any newspaper reports perhaps because his father, the school headmaster would not have wanted to be seen to be favouring his son. The school register must have been checked to verify names because the names of those who had died in the War are underlined in red.

Albert Thomas Courtney Henery's entry in the Wharenui School Register of Admissions  


  • RICCARTON WHISPERS. "Advisability of placing a Roll of Honour in the schoool". Star, Issue 11460, 7 August 1915, Page 11
  • RICCARTON WHISPERS. "The Wharenui School Committee have decided to place a Roll of Honour". Star, Issue 11472, 21 August 1915, Page 11
  • RICCARTON WHISPERS. "A very successful social and dance was held in the Wharenui Schoolroom". Star, Issue 11490, 11 September 1915, Page 11
  • RICCARTON WHISPERS. "The flag, purchased by Mr G Witty was presented". Star, Issue 11538, 6 November 1915, Page
  • THE FALLEN AND WOUNDED.  "The handsome Roll of Honour Board was unveiled by Mr G Witty, MP". Press, Volume LIII, Issue 16068, 26 November 1917, Page 8

  • RICCARTON WHISPERS. "Three names were added to the honours board". Star, Issue 12285, 6 April 1918, Page 7

Discuss This Topic

There are 0 comments in this discussion.

join this discussion

Roll of Honour, Wharenui School

Materials:Oak with gold lettering
City: Christchurch