Head of History, Mr Paul Kerr, has written a history of the RSD pupils who served in the armed forces during the First World War. It is packed with information about more than 200 former RSD pupils, including detailed biographies of the 38 men who gave their lives during the conflict. Printed in full colour with illustrations and photographs throughout, it is a wonderful testament to the School, the men and their families. Coming as it does in the year of the 100th anniversary of the War and the 400th anniversary of the opening of the School, it could not be more timely.
According to Mr Kerr, the work for the book began as a classroom activity: “My interest in the old boys who were killed in the war started several years ago when I was developing a research project for my Year 10 pupils. Eventually, looking into what happened to them became a labour of love and with the help of people from around the globe, and funding from the PEACE III organisation, we were able to publish the book.”
Several local people have contributed information and photographs related to family members. Joan Reid, whose ancestor Robert Neville was killed in 1918 whilst serving in the Canadian Army, was only too pleased to be able to contribute: “I think it’s a wonderful publication and a great way of commemorating the sacrifice made by so many local men.” Former RSD member of staff Keith Patton, whose grandfather Joseph served with the Inniskilling Fusiliers, said, “I found some of the stories to be really moving. I’d recommend the book to anyone interested in the history of the school or the local area.” The book also features a foreword by former RSD pupil, and current Head of Horticulture with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, David Richardson.
Copies of the book are on sale at £10.00 and are available from the RSD Reception Office or from the Ranfurly House Arts & Visitor Centre. All proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to the Fields of Life charity and will contribute further to the building of the new Bethel Royal High School in Uganda.