Have you seen the quaint little structure out the front of the All Saints Anglican Church in Nowra?
We've probably all driven past it hundreds of times and thought nothing of if.
It's actually called a lych gate, which were designed to allow the coffin to be rested prior to being brought into the church for a funeral service.
But in this case the gate has been designed as a war memorial, providing a rare example where these two mortuary forms have been combined.
The gate, designed in an 'Arts and Craft' manner, was been built from rough sawn timber with a sandstone base and slate tiled roof.
A bronze plaque set in the sandstone base at the right of the gate lists 12 members from the local parish who died in the First World War.
A similar plaque on the left bears the dedication.
Construction of the gate was advertised for tender in the magazine Building on February 4, 1921, and the successful tender was accepted the following month.
The structure was designed and constructed by Seward Elliott, Snr,
The gate was completed later that year.
The memorial includes the names of two brothers who died in the Great War, (Trooper) John Campbell who enlisted July 19, 1915 and served at Gallipoli and (Private) Harry Campbell.
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Also listed is (Private) Francis Lymbery, a veteran of Gallipoli who was severely wounded on the Western Front and was repatriated to Australian on July 21, 1917.
He died in Nowra from the effects of these wounds two years later and is buried in the Church of England Cemetery at Nowra.
The dedication plaque simply states -
TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND IN MEMORY OF THE MEN OF THIS PARISH WHO FELL IN THE GREAT WAR 1914 - 1919
'GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN THAN THIS'
Veterans listed on the memorial include -
Private Alec Lawrence Anderson (Killed in Action), 17th Battalion, Belgium.
Private Harry William Campbell (KIA), 54th battalion, France
Trooper John Thomas Campbell (KIA), 7th Australian Light Horse, Palestine
Private Septimus Douglas Glanville (KIA), 49th Battalion, Belgium
Corporal Percy Bertram Harrison (KIA), 1st Machine Gun Battalion, France
Private Leslie Clive Lake (KIA), Fleurs - France
Private Francis Henry William Lymbery (Died of wounds), 45th Battalion
Private George Lawrence Newall (DOW), 15th Battalion, Gallipoli
Lance Corporal Charles Samuel Parker (KIA), 3rd Battalion, Zonnebeke - Belgium
Private Aaron Frederick William Phillips (KIA), 3rd Battalion, Lone Pine Gallipoli
Private Henry Campbell Vivian (CAM) Raunch, also known as John Conolon (KIA), 52nd Battalion, Villers Britteneaux - France
E Smith (KIA)
C.E. SOLDIERS' MEMORIAL DEDICATION OF LYCH GATE
The article on the dedication from the Shoalhaven News Saturday, September 17, 1921
Some year or more ago the members of the Church of England in the parish of Shoalhaven decided, in public meeting assembled, to erect a lych gate at the entrance to the church property at the corner of Berry and Plunkett streets, Nowra.
A sub committee, with Lieut. Guyett at its head, was appointed to carry out the matter.
Some delay occurred in connection with the obtaining of a suitable design, those submitted from Sydney being either too costly or unsuitable otherwise.
Eventually the practical assistance of Mr. Seward Elliott, sen. was called in and he promptly and satisfactorily met all the wishes of the design committee and was entrusted to carry out the work, which he did well and faithfully and to the entire satisfaction of all concerned.
The unveiling, opening, and dedication of the lych gate was fixed for Thursday afternoon last, when, though the weather was anything but favorable (rain having fallen during the previous night and in the forenoon of the appointed day), there was a large attendance of interested spectators, not only members of the Church of England but representatives of all denominations.
Though the afternoon was cloudy, rain held off, and the function was got off very successfully and without the slightest hitch.
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A dais was erected alongside the church, facing Plunket Street, and in close proximity of the lych gate.
Arranged around were seats from the school hall, but many had to stand throughout the proceedings.
Special seats were reserved for relatives of the deceased soldiers, whose memory was being honored by a tablet on the lych gate.
The official part of the proceedings opened with the singing of the National Anthem, and the Lord's Prayer; followed by prayers offered by the Rector and Chairman,
Rev. E. Fisher-Johnson, for King and Country, for the British Empire, for the League of Nations, and in thanks giving for victory.
The scripture lesson was read by the Rev. Mr. Rowsell (of Berry).
Mr. M. F. Morton, after expressing his pleasure at being called on to say a few words, offered his congratulations to those who had taken the matter of erecting a memorial gate in hand - a lych gate that would stand as a memento of the young men connected with the church who had served in the great war, and who filled heroes' graves at one or other of the.historic battlefields in Belgium or France.
He was pleased to see that such a last tribute was being paid to the men who would never come back.
That memorial gate would keep them in perpetual remembrance.
He was also pleased that a well-known officer of the A.I.F., Major-General Sir Charles Rosenthal, who had done so much to win victory for the Allied arms, and who had such a distinguished record in active service, was present to open the memorial gate.
He assured the Major-General that something like 500 lads in the immediate vicinity of Nowra had answered the call of Empire and proceeded to the war.
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As they all knew none of those men were sent away - they voluntarily went, went of their own accord.
Many of them had come back, but some of them would never return.
He offered his sympathy, and the sympathy of all present, to those whose sons and dear ones would never come back.
And he would like to mention the fact that of the men who went from this district and whose good fortune it was to come back none had been dependent upon the Government; they had all re-established themselves in civil life and had taken up their ordinary avocations.
Unfortunately some in other parts had to depend upon assistance from the Government through the Repatriation Committees, and the country had a perfect right to fulfil its obligations to the men who had served it so well in the time of crisis.
There were many who were not getting what they were justly entitled to and what they really deserved; but he hoped and he was sure the people would insist upon it, that all would get a fair and square deal.
The duty was cast upon them all to see that their returned men received justice and that life was made as easy as possible for them.
They were told that the war was over.
He did not know that it was finished with yet - the actual fighting was over, the tragedy itself had ended; but the fact remained that the world throughout was in a worse state of unrest than while the war raged.
There was never a time in the history of the Empire when her people should stand more solidly together and they must remember here that they were a part of the Empire itself and not a. Dominion only.
Under present circumstances, whether they lived under King George or any other sovereign, they should realise that their safety depended upon loyalty to the Throne and the flag that was the symbol of Empire, of truth, justice and liberty. (Applause).
Then followed the singing of the hymn, 'For all the Saints,' after which Major-General Sir Charles Rosenthal was called on to address the gathering.
He said it was always a pleasure for him to be associated with any function that had any relation to returned men, and that being so he was pleased to accept the invitation to be present and take part in that ceremony.
And that pleasure was intensified by the fact that Nowra was part of the South Coast district which now formed portion of the area over which he had command, and because too he happened to be a member of the Church of England.
It was very hard to say in a few words what result had come to Australia because of the work done by their men in the great theatre of the war on the other side of the world.
He could truly say that because of that fact Australia had become a nation.
Australians had writ very large on the scroll of fame the name of Australia.
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Though the war was won by the united body of Allied forces, it was true that it was won largely by individual effort.
Each man had to play his part in the ultimate victory.
They sent large numbers of men, and every unit nobly did his part.
In regard to nurses in particular Australia held the record - over 2000 of them had served with the services in every theatre of the war, and he did not think any of the fighting troops could show such a record as theirs.
Wherever the Australian forces fought they did their share in winning for themselves and the Empire the liberty they all enjoyed.
He was glad to see so many young people present, and he hoped they would always realise what they owed to their soldiers and those who went before them, who had secured for them the liberty and privileges that was theirs today.
The older people realised their obligation, but the future of their country depended upon the children, who should be impressed with what they owed to their forebears, to themselves, and to those who come after them.
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Such memorials as they were erecting there that day would remind them of their obligations.
Every Sunday at least - if not afterwards as they passed through that gate to enter the House of God they would be reminded of the sacrifice made by those whose names were enscrolled on the tablet.
He emphasized the word sacrifice, and pointed out that every man engaged in the war knew, when called upon to go into the lines, the big probability that he would never come back, the risk that he would have to make the supreme sacrifice.
And that risk was faced unflinchingly.
To the returned soldier that lych gate would lie a reminder of duty done.
Although the war was over their work was not by any means over yet.
It was an honorable thing to serve one's country in time of war: it was equally honorable to serve one's country in times of peace.
He impressed upon the returned men and all young men, the duty they owed to the State, their obligation to take a full share in civic and national affairs.
The men who had come back from the war had gained experience in other lands, and the benefit of the experience should not be lost on Australia.
They should continue their service and sacrifice for the good of their country.
Those of them who were parents should not only see that their children attended church and school, but that they learned something of the history of their Empire and their own country.
He paid a tribute to the grand old pioneers who had done so much to open up this country, many shining examples of whom they had in the South Coast districts.
He urged them to see that what they had done was not forgotten nor that the great work of their citizen soldiers was ever forgotten.
Thus, if the occasion ever arose again and he hoped it would never occur when there would the need to defend their country and the Empire, the men would always be ready and willing to do their duty and to hold the heritage that was theirs.
The Empire's leaders had made mistakes - that was inevitable - but they had tried to found the Empire on truth and justice and honor.
He mentioned the high reputation of the merchants and traders of the Empire, 95 per cent of whose business was transacted on their word, which was taken as good as a bond.
While the high standard of reputation of their people was maintained they need have no fear of the future of their country.
He was glad to hear from Mr Morton that no men in this district had had help from the Government, but had re-established themselves in civil-life.
That was highly creditable to them but there were many young fellows who were in need of assistance, and they should receive all the help possible.
Even if they did not always turn out as well as was expected of them, it was their duty to give them help and sympathy, remembering what they had gone through and suffered for the common good.
Many of those men had 'gone over the top' many times and it needed courage to do that, seeing that it was a mathematical certainty that their time would come to make the supreme sacrifice.
Only those who had been associated with the Diggers could appreciate what they had passed through, and he asked for kindly consideration for those who needed it.
He hoped that their lych gate would always be a reminder of the gallantry and bravery of their dead heroes and a sacred memento of the sacrifice they had made.
There was no finer way of lying down one's life than for King and country, and the sacrifice made by those young men would never be forgotten.
The work they had done and the sacrifice made would become the most brilliant, page in the history of their families, as well it might, for they had fought and died for their King and country and for freedom on the other side of the world. (Applause).
During the singing of Kipling's 'God of our Fathers' a procession marched to the front of the lych gate, in the following order: Major-General Rosenthal and Lieut. Guyett, Rural Dean and Rector, clergy, churchwardens, parish councillors, military, relatives of soldiers to whose memory the gate was erected, the aldermen and public.
The unveiling of the inscription plate and honor roll was performed by Major-General Sir Charles Rosenthal, who also opened the gate inside which a prayer in commemoration of the fallen was offered by Rev Mr Rowsell, after which the Rev C.A. Stubbin, R.D., dedicated the gate 'to the glory of God and in memory of the men of this parish who fell in the great war, 1914-1919.'
Offerings were placed in a receplade within the gate, while the company sang 'Now Thank we all our God,' and the impressive ceremony concluded with the Benediction pronounced by the Rector.
Afterwards relatives of the deceased men each planted a memorial tree in the church grounds.
The memorial is a massive and ornate structure of rough-dressed sandstone, the top of wood, roof of oak shingles, and the gate of wood.
On either side of the gate is a seat to accommodate two persons.
On the frontal columns are two brass tablets - bearing the inscription plate, and the other the names of the fallen soldiers, as follows: Anderson A.L, Campbell H.W, Campbell J.T, Glanville S.D, Harrison P.B Lake L.C, Lymbery F.H.W, Newall G.L, Parker C.S, Phillips A.F.W, Raunch H.C.V, Smith, E.