Monday, May 23, 2022

Roll of Honor at the Waikīkī War Memorial Natatorium in Honolulu, Hawai'i

In honor of the upcoming Memorial Day and for The Honor Roll Project, I decided to transcribe the War Memorial Honor Roll at the Waikīkī War Memorial Natatorium in Honolulu, Hawai'i.

The plaque outside the War Memorial Natatorium honors 101 residents of the then-territory of Hawai'i who died in service in World War I.  Flowers and lei are presented at the monument each Veterans Day and Memorial Day.  The plaque was created and placed in 1931.

Above:  Roll of Honor - Pihana [cropped; credit Pihana Kea, November 2017] / Waikiki Natatorium / CC BY 2.0

Below:  20080525246 [cropped, 25 May 2008]  / Waikiki Natatorium / CC BY 2.0

Here is the transcription of the memorial.  The Latin phrase "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" is a line from the Odes (III.2.13) by the Roman lyric poet Horace.  The line translates as "It is sweet and fitting to die for the homeland."

Roll of Honor
“Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori”
In the Service of the United States
Vidal Agar | Adam Young Aki | Frank K. Aki Jr. | Bragee Arcilo | Ariston Arozal | Cipriano Bega | Anastacio Bueno | Esteban Castillo | Richard Belmont Caston | Henry Henley Chapman | Chin Sung Choy | Bidal Ciempoon | Alexander C. Cornelison | Julian Daguman | Juan De la Cruz | Carel J. De Roo | Frank P. Dolin | George K. Dwight | Rufino Esbra | Anatalio Eugenio | Henry J. Evans | Ephraim H. Ezera | Louis J. Gaspar | Francis J. Green | Abraham Hauli | Edmund Hedemann | Daniel K. Iopa | Edward J. Iskow | Kuulei John Kaea | Edward N. Kahokuoluna | Sam Kainoa | Charles Kalaeloa | Apau Kau | Charles Kino | Edward K. Kuaimoku | Han Young Lee | John A. Makua | Kenneth D. Marr |  Anthony R. Mattos | Philip Overton Mills | Sam Moke | Mariano Monsieur | Peter Naia | George O’Connor | John S. O’Dowda | Aurelio Orbe | Joe Puali | Juan Quibal | Manuel Ramos | William Russell Riley | Richard F. Rodrigues | John R. Rowe | Pablo R. Santos | Jose Sarsosa | William K. Scholtz | Rufo Tenebre | Moses Thomas | Paustino Tingking | George B. Tom | George M. Turner | Henry K. Unuivi | Manuel G. Valent | Frank C. Viera Jr. | James Waialeale | Levi Waihoikala | Clarence J. Watson | David L. Withington
Paul H. Auerbach | Archibald Bal | Frederick Char | Edward Fuller | Manuel Gouveia Jr. | Ivan Mantrose Graham | Herman Kaaukea | John Kana | Ralph J. Kauhane | Frank Raymond | John A. Silva | Charles F. A. Warren Jr.
In the Service of Great Britain
F. S. Blackwood | James H. R. Bryant | Kenneth Cameron | B. Clair Churchill | Alexander Collie | Henry L. Davies | J. Douglas | H. Fogarty | John Scott French | Edward Jones | R. L. Leander | Ted Llewellyn | Robert G. Mackenzie | Norman Maclean | James P. May | James Arthur Miller | Gideon Potter | Robert Sharp | Gordon Turner | John Turner | Claude O. H. Usborne | Thomas P. Williams

Above:  Flowers by the honor roll of the dead [cropped; 11 November 2011] / Waikiki Natatorium / CC BY 2.0 - click on the image to make it larger.

Below:  US and Hawaii Flags over the Natatorium [cropped; 11 November 2011] / Waikiki Natatorium / CC BY 2.0 

The War Memorial Natatorium was built, pursuant to 1921 legislation, to honor all of the more than 10,000 men and women from the Hawai'ian Islands who served in the Great War. The Natatorium, completed in 1927, was designed by architect Lewis Hobart and features a Beaux-Arts archway leading to its ocean-water swim basin. The archway, as well as the monument’s bleachers and bathhouses, include classical ornamentation such as friezes, pediments, medallions, statuary, and cornices.

Below:  Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium Aerial [cropped; credit Ron Slausen, 19 May                                                  2009] / Waikiki Natatorium / CC BY 2.0

According to Act 15 of the 1921 Territorial Legislature, the memorial “shall include a swimming course at least 100 meters in length.”  The saltwater pool is also 40 meters wide.  When it opened on August 24, 1927, Olympic Gold Medalist and “father of modern surfing” Duke Kahanamoku dove into the pool to take the first ceremonial swim. It hosted celebrity swimmers like Esther Williams, Buster Crabbe, Johnny Weissmuller, and 34 members of the International Swimming Hall of Fame. The Hawai’i Department of Education used the pool for its mandatory elementary Learn to Swim Program.

Due to deterioration, the site was indefinitely closed to the public in 1979. The site is on both the Hawai'i and National Registers of Historic Places. It was named to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 11 Most Endangered list in 1995, and a National Treasure by the National Trust in 2014.

Above:  The Waikīkī Natatorium War Memorial, as seen from the hau tree terrace [August 2008]  / Rosa SayCC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Below:  Sunrise at the Waikiki Natatorium [31 October 2021; cropped] / Flip Flops Hawaii / CC BY-SA 2.0

In 2001, the exterior façade, locker rooms and lifeguard offices (for the adjacent Kaimana Beach), volleyball court, and parking lot were repaired and reopened to the public. Restoration of the bleachers and saltwater pool, however, was put on hold.  Governments and organizations at the local, state, and national levels are still working on options to restore the natatorium.  

Above:  Honolulu [22 August 2005; note medallion at far right] / My Photo Album 2007 /  CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Below:  Waikiki Natatorium [Medallion, 14 November 2009] / jongela19 / CC BY-ND 2.0

© Amanda Pape - 2022 - e-mail me! 


  1. Having never seen this memorial, I do appreciate that you photographed and transcribed the plaque and shared more of the area!

    1. Thanks Marian. I actually did not take any of the photos. I search for photos of honor rolls on Flickr that have Creative Commons licenses, and use those. It was fun to learn about this particular honor roll and the natatorium associated with it.