Group mis­sion to re­mem­ber for­mer pupils

Perthshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - Rachel Clark

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.

Poignant re­minder


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