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The No.1 New Zealand General Hospital 1916-1919

Written by Juliana Austen on July 20th, 2018.      0 comments

The village of Brockenhurst is nestled in the green woodland of the New Forest in Hampshire. It lies close to the coast with a train line to the port of Southampton. It was here in 1916 that the No 1. New Zealand Hospital was set up. Over twenty thousands New Zealand patients were treated here, evacuated from the front lines of France and Belgium.

Our sick and wounded have received great kindness and hospitality from the residents of Brockenhurst.”

It must have been a haven of quietness, clean sheets and kindness. Most were patched up to return to the front, others to be invalided home. In the beautiful churchyard of St Nicholas lie nearly one hundred who never recovered.

An immense Yew tree stands between church and graveyard reported to be over 1,000 years old.

Ancient Yew tree in the St Nicholas churchyardThis Yew tree has been carbon-dated as 1,000 year old. Stained glass window Gravstone and flax plantOne of the gravestones interplanted with flax bushes.

The graves are managed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and are tended reverently. Flax and Hebe bushes along with ferns are planted among the white gravestone. Inside the church hangs a New Zealand flag and a beautiful stained glass window was dedicated in June 2916. Every ANZAC Day there is a memorial service, and a publication "New Zealand graves at Brockenhurst" / Clare Church tells the stories of each of the men.

One of the most poignant graves is for Edward William Henry LAWRENCE who died at age 23 on 6th November 1917. His parents visited his grave and in 1921 and added a memorial to him.

Gravestone of Pte. E.W.H. Lawrence
Memorial placed by Edward's parents









The Fields of Remembrance Trust was established in 2012 to honour those who served and died for our nation during World War One.

The Trust is made up of the Passchendaele Society, the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association, New Zealand (RNZRSA) representIng all local RSAs, and the Auckland RSA. It is a registered charity.