Auckland War Museum Cenotaph

The Cenotaph as it pertains to New Zealand World War II servicemen and women is an online database searchable on the Auckland War Museum website of all those who died on active service in all branches of the services. Some were killed in action, some died of wounds sustained and some from other causes. Most of the pages bear photos but a few do not.

In more recent years the database has been expanded to include an increasing number of personnel who died post war. It looks like as of date of writing this, 29th October 2017, all persons showing on the Nominal Rolls have been brought across, although some cannot be pulled up at this time. See my note below.  

Many of these have been flagged as ‘preliminary records‘ and relate to those assumed to be still living. Only on confirmation of death do these become ‘bona fide’ online database records.

You can access all records on the Cenotaph database here.


Those I have been unable to access as at 29th October 2017 show up marked with an ‘N’ in Column A.

A problem sometimes arises when the same regimental no. has been attached to a soldier on the WWI database. Often the WWII entry does not show up. I have been in touch with one of the Cenotaph research team about this, who advises that these kinks may take 3-4 months to iron out, so I will return after that time to see if I can locate these ‘missing’ entries.

When undertaking a search,  if at first you don’t succeed, try again. If you do a search on a name and it does not come up, try searching under possible name variations, eg Haywood and Hayward.

Things are a bit ‘hit and miss’ at present.  I have had instances where I have conducted a search of surname and christian names as per the roll entry and come up with a blank. Then, on searching under just the surname I have found the entry I want. Exactly the same scenario too, vice versa.

If neither of these produces results revert to the filters option,  for example, a search under regimental number only may produce the record, with the name slightly different to that which is on the roll.

If a number search produces nothing, try searching after putting either one or two zeros in front of the number. That may well produce the result you seek. None of the number listed on the spreadsheet are preceded by zeros, even though some may have appeared with zeros on the Nominal Rolls. 

If you are interested in the military service of your family or your community or are researching New Zealand’s military history, you will want to find out how to get started using Cenotaph.

With regards some entries additional information was also sought from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.

Here is where you will find the full database I have compiled.

Please note that the Cenotaph database and website are having information added to them daily, so I recommend you always check back to them just in case some additional information has come to hand since I have written this.

Community Roadshow Units

During the First World War Centenary period He Pou Aroha, Community Cenotaph is providing portable digital access to Online Cenotaph using innovative purpose-built digitisation kiosks. This will continue on into 2018.

Each kiosk contains an object photo booth that allows you to digitise your family’s war related items such as medals, diaries, letters and more, within minutes. The digitised objects are then immediately uploaded to the relevant service person’s Online Cenotaph record for the world to see and future generations to remember.

The community roadshow will be visiting various events throughout Northland and individual kiosk units are also available in libraries, community groups and centres, museums and RSAs.

Look out for the roadshow unit in your community. 



The grave of Whangarei soldier, 2nd Lieutenant N F Chissell, at the Phaleron Cemetery, Athens, Greece, which I had the honour of visiting, last year.


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