The family of Private William George Barber, who died in World War 1, will remember the soldier’s sacrifice in a memorial service which will include a cross being placed beside his parents’ grave at the Gore Cemetery.
The Lewis gunner was killed in action at La Basse-Ville, Belgium, on August 2, 1917, aged 28, and buried near where he died.
Great niece Muriel Parker said the cross had been part of the 2018 Armistice Day centenary commemoration at the Auckland Domain.
Crosses named for each New Zealander who died in WW1 were displayed there.
“Once it was finished you were allowed to uplift [the crosses] .. anybody who wanted to could collect a cross for their family member,” Mrs Parker said.
After Mrs Parker realised the family could have the cross, the next decision to be made was what to do with it.
“It seemed appropriate to put it with his parents.”
It was important for the family to recognise Pte Barber’s contribution to the war, she said.
“To me, because I’ve done genealogy, it’s kind of like bringing him home as much as we can – just for our family to honour him.”
Younger family members were interested in Pte Barber’s story, she said.
The fourth child of Francis and Elizabeth Barber, Pte Barber worked at the Mataura meat processing works and at casual jobs in Waimumu.
He was leasing a farm at Waimumu when he enlisted on April 5, 1916 in the 2nd battalion of the Otago Regiment.
The family would also remember Pte Barber’s cousin, David Telfer, who died in December 1917.
Gore and Districts RSA padre the Rev Bruce Cavanagh would officiate at the service.
He said he felt honoured to help with the service.
“It seems very fitting to be able to put the cross with his parents’ grave.
“I think it’s absolutely marvellous,” he said.
This would be the first time Mr Cavanagh had been part of a memorial service in which a cross for a son was placed at his parents’ gravesite.
“It’s a good place for people to come because you can’t always go and visit the person’s grave because they are over in France or Belgium.”
Mr Barber’s memorial service will be held at 11am on Sunday at the Gore Cemetery. Everyone is welcome to attend.