Golden Roll of Honour

Similar to the memorial scroll but this particular item is unofficial. These memorial “Rolls of Honour” have an interesting story behind them. They were a private fund raising initiative by a former Army Service Corps, Captain who had fallen on hard times due to the economic downturn of the 1920’s. It seems these unofficial rolls stared going out to the families sometime in the 1930’s and there is an indication that the request for payment was not received well by the recently bereaved.  There were warnings from the Minister of Internal Affairs appearing in local NZ newspapers in 1933 advising families that they should be cautious of sending money to unofficial overseas organizations and that recipients of the “Golden Scrolls” were under no obligation to purchase them. The letter sent, with the scroll, to the families said: “Dear Sir or Madam,
The sender of this letter and GOLDEN ROLL of HONOUR is an ex-British Soldier who, owing to the World-wide trade depression is out of employment and who cannot be re-employed here owing to the increasing number of un-employed of French nationality.
It is useless for me to return to England at the present time with my wife and family as there is so little employment for those at home.  I am therefore forced to find some means of earning my living; for there is no unemployment pay for Britishers over here, and so I have designed the enclosed Golden Roll of Honour …. The price of this Roll of Honour is only TWO SHILLINGS and SIXPENCE which I feel even the very poor will be glad to pay, to give it an honoured place in the Home and I trust that you will be able to buy this in spite of the difficulties that beset everyone at home at this moment.
If this meets with your approval will you kindly send me an ORDINARY POSTAL ORDER as soon as possible.
  I have no connection with any others who may have written you at any time.  This is the first communication I have sent to you. 
Thanking you in anticipation of your kind orders,
Yours faithfully,
Malcolm Cockerell
Ex Captain

(The above letter extract is from:

The center of this scroll features a pasted on extract from the Imperial War Graves Commission register. Below is the page from the register as it appears on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.

Young War graves

Here is a close up of the info from the register on the scroll: Scroll name

20593 William Edward YOUNG was a member of “A” company 3rd Battalion, 3rd NZ (Rifle) Brigade. He enlisted in May 1916, embarked from NZ for overseas service in August, was posted to the 3rd (Rifle) Brigade in France, December 1916, was wounded and rejoined his unit in June 1917 and then finally killed in action 12 October 1917.

The attack of Bellevue Spur on 12 October 1917, part of the 1st NZEF participation in the Passchendaele offensive, was one of the blackest days for NZ in the 1st WW. Preparations for the 12 October attack on Bellevue Spur, especially the positioning of the supporting artillery, could not be completed in time because of the mud. As a result, the creeping barrage was weak and ragged. Some of the shells dropped short, causing casualties among the New Zealanders waiting to advance. To make matters worse, the earlier artillery bombardment had failed to breach the obstacle presented by the German barbed wire. Another key target, the Germans’ concrete pillboxes with their deadly machine-guns, were also left largely undamaged. The toll was horrendous. There were about 3700 New Zealand casualties, of which 45 officers and 800 men were either dead or lying mortally wounded between the lines.

3 thoughts on “Golden Roll of Honour

  1. Pingback: Memorial Register | kiwisoldier

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