Story: Memorials and monuments

Devonport soldier (1st of 3)

Devonport soldier

The great majority of First World War memorial soldier figures were carved in Italy by monumental masons. However, a few were sculpted in New Zealand by New Zealand artists and made a serious effort to capture the distinctive character of the Kiwi soldier. This figure at Devonport, Auckland, which came to be known colloquially as 'the untidy soldier', was one of these. It was the work of Frank Lynch, an ex-digger himself, who described the figure as an Anzac about to leave Gallipoli and doffing his hat to the memory of his dead cobbers (friends) left behind. The scruffy clothing and untied bootlaces, which gave the sculpture its nickname, illustrated the idea that New Zealand soldiers did not care about 'spit and polish' on the parade ground, but were heroes on the battlefield. The untidy soldier was regarded with such affection that there were actually two castings in bronze. The first was probably the First World War memorial in Masterton, unveiled in 1923, and the second was the Devonport one, unveiled the next year. However, Lynch received no further commissions for war memorials.

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Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Photograph by Jock Phillips

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How to cite this page:

Jock Phillips, 'Memorials and monuments - Memorials to the First World War', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/32537/devonport-soldier (accessed 23 October 2019)

Story by Jock Phillips, published 20 Jun 2012, updated 26 Mar 2015