News Story

We Are Remembering Them... ANZAC
24 April 2015
City Station's Memorial to those firefighters who served in WW1.

For nigh on 100 years a bronze memorial has looked down from its central position high on the wall in the appliance hall at Central Fire Station in Pitt Street. It honours those who were serving in the Auckland Fire Brigade and answered the call to arms during the First World War. The plaque was unveiled by the Mayor, James Gunson, in October 1920. "The Brigade has an enviable record," he said, "of a total of 60 firemen employed, 39 served overseas - significant of the type of men serving in the Brigade".
Four firefighters were killed.
Corporal Edward Mitchell Pharazyn Rexworthy took part in the landings at Gallipoli at the start of the Anzac campaign, he was injured and recovered to be transferred to France where he was killed in action at the Somme on October 4th 1916.
Sergeant Harry Pickering De Courcey was serving with the N.Z. Entrenching Battalion in France when he died on May 9th 1918 of wounds suffered defending Meteren against German offensives. He was posthumously awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field.
Lieutenant Thomas Roland Roth Burns was the Fire Brigade's mechanic and began action at the front with the Anzacs during the landings in April 1915. Wounded, he was evacuated to England for treatment. After convalescence he took flying lessons and transferred to the pioneering Royal Flying Corps in January 1918. He was killed in an aircraft accident on 16th December 1918.
Charles Warner enlisted in May 1916 and saw action in France before being killed during the Battle of Messines in Belgium on June 7th 1917 when New Zealand troops reclaimed surrounding territory.
He was 25 years old and his burial typifies so many soldiers' unknown graves. His records say he was "buried at the entrance to the gully beside willow trees", his sacrifice now remembered at Messines Ridge Memorial... and on the plaque at City Fire Station. It bears the names of all the Auckland City brigadesmen who served in the First World War... and it's the focus of a memorial service to be held tomorrow, Anzac Day. Those firefighters from other brigades who served overseas are recorded on other memorials.
100 Years after Gallipoli, We Are Remembering Them

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