Kowai Bush War Memorial


The Kowai Bush War Memorial, erected by residents of the small rural farming community to commemorate their war dead, is found way off the beaten track along Kowai Road, on the right hand side just before the junction with Rubicon Road.

It stands alone. St George and the Dragon grace the white pillar’s top and the names of Kowai’s brave men are listed around the centre while a WW2 commemoration adorns the base.


The memorial has recently been very well renovated and the names and information are now clearly readable.

For such a small community their contribution to the war was large, as is eloquently pointed out by this newspaper article from 1917.

kowai war call newspaper


P1010589 (Small)

EVANS, Percy William Edgar – Rifleman, New Zealand Rifle Brigade, 1st Battalion

Born 1893.

Killed in action at The Somme, France on 10 December, 1916. Age 22.

NZ Army WW1 Nominal Rolls show his last address as Methven and he was unmarried.

Father: Richard Robert Evans of Kowai Bush.
Married (1886)
Mother: Christina nee PETRIE.

Percy was the youngest of the four children of Richard and Christina Evans.

His siblings are:

– Walter Charley b. 1889 (d. 6 August 1915 at Gallipoli – also on memorial – see below)

– Grace Ilsley b. 1891

– Nellie Caroline b. 1887

Following the death of Christina in 1896, Richard remarried to Alice Ann HODGSON in 1897. They had two children:

– Edith Gladys b. 1899
– Muriel Lillian b. 1901

Christina and Richard Robert Evans are buried together in Kowai Pass Cemetery near Springfield.

P1010590 (Small)
EVANS, Walter Charley – Private, 2nd Reinforcements, Otago Infantry Battalion.

Evans__W__IMG_1232Born 1889.

Killed in action at Gallipoli on 6 August 1915. Age 26.

Brother of Percy William Edgar EVANS – see above.

P1010590 (Small) (2)

MILLIKEN, William Thomas – Trooper, 20th Reinforcements, New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade.

Born: 1894

Killed in action in Amman on 28 March 1918, during the first and failed attempt to capture Amman (27-29 March 1918).

Father: John Milliken
Mother: Elizabeth (Lizzie) Arthurs nee LONG

William’s parents married in Islandmagee, a parish in County Antrim, Ireland (near Larne) in August, 1879. They had both been born in this parish. The year following their marriage, they travelled to Lyttleton onboard the Durham.

William Thomas was the sixth child born to John and Lizzie, and one of at least nine children in total. His siblings are:

– James Milliken: 1878 – 1944

– Robert Milliken: 1882 – 1956

– John Milliken: 1884 –

– Ivy Iloine/Eileen Milliken: 1890 – 1959

– Nina Sylvaline (Vina Sylvia) Milliken: 1892 – 1970

– William Thomas Milliken: 1894 – 1918

– Gladys Amelia Milliken: 1897 – 1973

– Myrtle Doris Milliken: 1900 – 1985

– Albert Edward Milliken: 1902 – 1995

Many Milliken memorials can be found in the Kowai Pass Cemetery near Springfield.
P1010591 (Small)

GOLD, Robert Edward – Sapper, 5th Reinforcements, Wellington Infantry Battalion.

Gold__R._E._WP_15_Nov_1916_28072009_0109Born: 1896

Killed in action at The Somme on 1 October 1916. Age (approx.) 20.

Father: William Gold
Mother: Johann nee WILSON
Married: 1890

Robert was one of six children. His siblings are:

– Elizabeth Helen: b. 1890

– William David: b. 1892 (d. 14 August 1917 – Rafa – also on memorial – see below)
– James Alexander: b. 1893

– Agnes Ethel: b. 1900

– Ruby Evelyn: b. 1903

Both Robert’s parents died in 1919 and are buried in Kowai Pass Cemetery near Springfield.

P1010592 (Small)

GOLD, William David – Lance Corporal, Main Body / Canterbury Mounted Rifles

Gold__William_David__IMG_1182Born: 1892

Died 14 August 1917 from wounds received in battle at Rafa (Rafah). Age 25.

Buried: Kantara War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt

William is the brother of Robert Edward GOLD, see above.


e w cox imageCOX, Ernest Wilkin (known as Tony) – Pilot-Officer, RNZAF.

Born: 27 November 1919

Died: 18 January 1942. Shot down by Japanese fighters, Singapore. Missing presumed dead.

Commemorated: Singapore Memorial, Kranji War Cemetery, Singapore

Father: Alan Douglas Cox
Mother: Heather Maxwell nee Campbell

Ernest was educated at Christ’s College, Christchurch and Canterbury University. He then went on to work as a clerk with accountants Frank Graham & Sons in Christchurch.




3 thoughts on “Kowai Bush War Memorial

  1. Brothers Percy William Edgar and Walter are my second cousins 3x removed 🙂 They also had 2 sisters Nell Caroline born 1887 and Grace Ilsley born 1891.
    Their parents were Richard Robert {Dick} EVANS (1853-1925) and Christina (m1886 Waddington d 1896) nee PETRIE. Their father remarried 14 Sep 1897 to Alice Ann HODGSON and they had 2 daughters Edith Gladys born 1899 and Muriel Lillian born 1901.
    Percy and Walters paternal grandparents were William (c1828-1899) and Caroline (c1824-1906) EVANS (nee ILSLEY) who arrived in NZ 1857 on board the ‘Maori’. They are buried in Woolston cemetery, Rutherford Street, Chch.
    Williams brother was my GGG grandfather Robert EVANS who arrived Lyttelton 1850 on board Cressy with wife Sarah and children Richard and Lucy.

    Posted by Sarndra | June 2, 2014, 11:11 am
  2. Thanks Sarndra – always great to have your extended information. 🙂

    Posted by hleggatt | June 2, 2014, 11:19 am
  3. What a lovely cemetery at Springfield. Credit to all concerned.
    My Links are Manning, Walles, Rae and some others

    Posted by B.Billington | February 25, 2015, 7:24 am

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