Dunedin writer Pauline Diack with a roll of honour of
former Kavanagh College pupils killed in World War 2. Photo
by Craig Baxter.
A roll of honour not yet officially unveiled has prompted
an emotional reaction from the relatives of former pupils of
Dunedin's Kavanagh College who died in World War 2.
The roll records the name, rank, unit, age and place of
burial of the 49 former pupils killed during the war.
It is the project of Dunedin writer Pauline Diack, a former
relieving teacher at the school, who was originally only
researching her uncle, Private John Kilgour, a former pupil
of Christian Brothers College (now Kavanagh College), who
died in Crete in 1941.
"I had his rank and serial number and knew where he was
buried, but I'd never seen his name on any memorial."
As she started investigating, she found an Anzac Day banner
listing of nearly 1000 names of Dunedin men killed at war.
Then began the painstaking process of matching the names to
school rolls at the Hocken Library.
It took her a year to complete the list and she is hopeful it
is a complete list of Kavanagh College's World War 2 war
She said she was thrilled with the finished memorial, which
was her biggest research project to date, and now "very
personal" to her after all the work that went into it.
She had received at least one emotional call from a relative
of one of the men on the roll.
The woman's father-in-law featured on the roll.
Her husband had never met his father, as he was killed in the
war before his son was born.
"It was very emotional for them."
That couple would attend the official unveiling of the board
at the college's Anzac assembly today.
Kavanagh principal Paul Ferris said the roll of honour was
getting much attention from pupils at the school.
Nine of the surnames featured were the same as pupils
attending the school today and it was "highly likely" there
were family links in many cases.
The roll seemed to resonate with pupils, he said.
One pupil who noticed one of the surnames was the same as his
told his family at home and the next day, his grandfather
brought into the school pictures and a copy of a letter
commending the brave actions of the private, who was killed
in a plane crash on the English Channel.
The private was the pupil's great-uncle.