HONOURING OUR FALLEN HEROES
Group mission to remember former pupils
Weeping Window installation at Black Watch Museum A former Perth teacher has spent the last four years making sure all the school’s ex-pupils who fell during World War One are remembered.
Dave Dykes, a retired technical teacher from Perth Academy, has been working hard to find out about the 168 pupils who are immortalised on the school’s war memorial, in a bid to mark 100 years since the end of The Great War.
Over the past few years, Dave has been helping a group of pupils from the academy calling themselves ‘Flowers of the Forest’, who wanted to learn more about those who gave their all.
The group, along with history teacher Laura Hobson, also holds a special remembrance service at the school’s war memorial on the 100th anniversary of each person’s death, with descendants travelling from as far away as Canada in attendance.
Dave explained: “We have 168 people on the WWI memorial in the academy and they died as you can imagine from 1914 until 1919 - two died after the end of the war. As close as they can to the anniversary of their death, we have a memorial where we read out a bit about the person and lay a poppy wreath.
“On a number of occasions, family members come to the school services as well. People come from all over the place, some have even come from Canada. It is great to get everyone together from the community and the school and from the Black Watch Museum.”
Dave said when he first started the project, he had no idea how big it would become and how many people would be interested.
He continued: “I am not sure I knew what I was taking on right at the beginning. But we had all these services
Dave Dykes with the Flowers of the Forest group at the school’s war memorial coming up and we needed to keep finding out more information. It is amazing how it has spread.
“I spoke at a memorial service a number of years ago and it got me thinking about all the names and I suspected they all had stories to tell.
“Someone needed to find out about these 168 people and what these people were like as individuals, and I thought maybe I should be that person.
“I am proud of what we have achieved, it is very rewarding because you can see what it means to the kids and to the families. They still remember, even though it is people they have never met before.”
The group is now looking forward to a school trip to France and Belgium next month, where they will visit a number of graves belonging to the academy’s fallen soldiers. They will take with them a wreath donated after a relative of one of the men saw an appeal for information in the PA.