Dawn service to be held at Sound Shell

By Roger Moroney

BACK TO BEACH: The Napier dawn service is set to be staged again at the Sound Shell site after two years away. PHOTO/FILE
BACK TO BEACH: The Napier dawn service is set to be staged again at the Sound Shell site after two years away. PHOTO/FILE

Napier's Dawn Parade Anzac service will return to the Sound Shell promenade this year after being staged at Memorial Square for the past two years.

But the return will be only a temporary one, Napier RSA president John Purcell said.

The service was moved to the square in 2014 after more than 50 years on the seafront site to coincide with the laying out of a Field of Remembrance which featured 208 white crosses - each bearing the names of Napier and Taradale service personnel who lost their lives in WWI.

It also coincided with the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of WWI.

"But this year we are returning to the Sound Shell," Mr Purcell said, adding it was because there was another centennial involved.

"Although it is only a temporary move. We will return to Memorial Square for next year's dawn service."

The decision to return to the seafront site was made because it is close to where the Napier RSA was founded under the name of the Napier Soldiers' Club.

The official opening stone, which is still in place and bears the words 'Honour The Brave', was laid on April 25, Anzac Day, in 1916.

The building, opposite the Ocean Spa, was designed by architect J Louis Hay and opened by the mayor of the day, J Vigor-Brown, and is today a budget accommodation centre and karate training rooms.

"It will be 100 years on the day so we made the decision to return to the Sound Shell site for the occasion," Mr Purcell said.

While many people had wanted the dawn service to return permanently to the Sound Shell, Mr Purcell said the Memorial Square venue had gone down well with most.

It will again be the site for the 11am Civic Service and as it had for the past two years the white crosses signifying those who lost their lives for their country would be set up.

The Napier RSA will also steer the 9am service at the Eskdale Memorial Church.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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