World War One through place names. Forrest Hill, North Shore.
This Auckland suburb is named after one of the more than 18,000 New Zealanders who were killed during the First World War. Hugh Alexander Forrest was born in Wellington in 1893, but moved to Auckland at a young age. He attended Auckland Grammar School and Auckland University College, passing his solicitor's examination in 1914.
Forrest enlisted on 24 July 1916 and was sent to Trentham Camp for training. By virtue of his six years service in the Territorial Force, he was quickly made a Lieutenant in the New Zealand Rifle Brigade. After sailing from Wellington in February 1917, Forrest reached France four months later.
Like many junior officers, Forrest’s front line service was tragically brief. On 12 October 1917, he and 844 other New Zealanders were killed in action while assaulting the German positions at Bellevue Spur. Forming part of the Passchendaele Campaign, this disaster remains the bloodiest day in New Zealand’s military history.
The Takapuna Borough Council subsequently commemorated Forrest’s service. On 23 October 1919, it renamed several local roads after First World War soldiers, including changing ‘White’s Hill Road’ to Forrest Hill Road. When the area subsequently expanded during the 1960s and 70s, Forrest Hill was transformed into a suburb.
The New Zealand Geographic Board officially validated the name Forrest Hill (for the suburb) in 2007.
- Auckland Museum, ‘Hugh Alexander Forrest’, Online Cenotaph
- Evening Post, 24 March 1917, p. 8.
- New Zealand Geographic Board: Minutes, 2007 (138).
- New Zealand Geographic Board, ‘New Zealand Gazetteer’
- New Zealand Herald, 25 July 1916, p. 9.