On Strowan – Volume 13 // Issue 8 // 8 November 2018
"It is a good time to reflect upon the values and attitudes we must espouse and live by as a global community in order to ensure this kind of conflict is avoided in the coming years."
Christine Leighton, Rector
Term 4 always seems a very short term with a large number of end-of-year activities, examinations, staff appointments, farewells and planning to attend to.
In the first few weeks there have been a number of highlights including the fabulous Years 9–10 Production, The Drowsy Chaperone, Festival of the Spoken Word (the Secondary School speech finals), the Canterbury Zonta Sports Awards, a highly successful Grandparents’ Day, Leavers’ Chapel and Leavers’ Assembly, and the end of year Boarders’ Dinner.
Now that senior students are on examination leave, it is time for them to fully concentrate on preparing for and achieving their best possible examination results. Preparing for and sitting examinations remains an important part of formal education, both at school and beyond school, and it is important that all our students create good attitudes and habits around studying and completing their year well. I remind our students that no teacher comes to school with the intention of doing an “average job” or accepts that a mediocre attempt at something is “good enough”. Lazy attitudes or giving up because they have “enough credits” is opting out and not setting our students up for success beyond school. I hope that you will reiterate these messages at home.
This evening, we are hosting a special event in our Centennial Chapel. As we, as New Zealanders, remember and celebrate Armistice Day and 100 years since the end of WWI, we are reminded of the way in which some of our own relatives and members of our St Andrew’s College family have served our country. Of course, St Andrew’s was a fledging College, only two years old as WWI drew to a close, but it was only 21 years later that many St Andrew’s Old Boys signed up and served in WWII, 64 of them making the ultimate sacrifice.
Jo Bailey, our Regulus writer for the last three years and now editor of the Collegian, will be recognised this evening at the launch of her new book, published this year, Never Forget. In this book Jo tells six courageous stories of people who all experienced vastly different consequences from the conflict during WWII. One of the chapters in the book tells the story of Naylor Hillary (OC 1920–1933).
During WWII Naylor flew as a navigator with the 138 Squadron based at Tempsford Airfield, England. The activities of the crews stationed there were top secret; indeed, Naylor never spoke of what he did there until he was about to turn 100 years old. When the secrecy was lifted, it became public knowledge that the operations from Tempsford were to assist with the resistance activities behind enemy lines in France. To put the danger of these operations into some perspective, over 80 aircrafts were lost from Tempsford with 623 airmen killed, including 31 Australians, 16 New Zealanders, 58 Polish and 78 Canadians. It is believed 995 agents were dropped into occupied Europe by parachute from the base of Tempsford, with another 485 landed by aircraft. A further 575 agents, VIPs and shot down RAF aircrew were brought back to the United Kingdom.
In December 2016 at the age of 101 Naylor was delighted to be presented with the Légion d’Honneur by the Honorary French Consul, Martine Marshall-Durieux. This medal is the French equivalent of the Victoria cross and thanks to the generosity of Naylor’s daughter, Pam, and son-in law, David Bissland, this medal now is displayed in the Memorial Enclave of our Centennial Chapel. The installation and blessing of this medal is also part of this evening’s ceremony for Jo Bailey’s book launch, Never Forget.
St Andrew’s College feels so very fortunate to have this medal to remind us of the remarkable efforts and bravery of not only Naylor, but so many other men and women who assisted the Allied forces to victory. The timing of these events coincides with the remembrance of the day WWI ended on 11 November 1918. It is a good time to reflect upon the values and attitudes we must espouse and live by as a global community in order to ensure this kind of conflict is avoided in the coming years.
Ngā mihi nui,