BENGALURU: Wreaths were laid, The Last Post played, followed by traditional memorial band tunes, as they called to rest upon four of their own martyrs. The Old Boys Association of St Joseph’s Boys’ High School, which is one of the oldest alumni associations in the city, marked their 100 years of existence by honouring the post-independence martyrs who were part of their association.
The Old Boys, as they are known, relish a history of sending their own to the armed forces to defend the country. It started with the First World War, until recent battles in independent India. The numbers tally to 360 old boys, who served in various battlefields across the world, some being just teenagers. They recalled the association with pride about their alumna.
On Saturday, on one of their last events for their centenary year, the association inaugurated two plaques in the St Joseph’s Boys’ High School. One at the war memorial, and another in the school, with names of four Indian Alumni - Capt John A Dalby, from 5 field regiment, who was martyred on November 18, 1962 at Jaswanth Garh, during the Sino-Indian War; Major Uday Shankar Ghosh, 13 Sikh Light Infantry, martyred on June 26, 1989 in The Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka; Major Palecanda Atul Deviah, 6 Field Regiment, in operation Meghdoot at Siachen Glacier; and Major Sylvester Rajesh Rathnam, 21 JAT, martyred on August 2, 2002, in operation Parakrama in Kupwara, Jammu and Kashmir.
Families of the martyrs gathered with the Old Boys and friends at the Memorial Service that was celebrated by the archbishop of Bengaluru, Peter Machado, before paying their respects to the martyrs at the school campus. While the pipe band from the Madras Engineering Group and Centre played Slow March. Families and friends mourned their beloved as the Sappers played the Last Post and the Rouse at the memorial.
Families of martyrs find closure in Old Boys’ ceremony
“It has been a long and heartbreaking journey for me. As John’s oldest daughter I will be eternally grateful to all of you for assisting me to find closure after 58 years,” said Cheryl Dalby, daughter of late Captain John Albert Dalby, SM, 5 Field Regiment.
He was martyred on November 18, 1962, at The Jaswant Garh - Sela Sector in NEFA during the Sino-Indian war. She was addressing the Old Boys Association, St Joseph’s Boys’ High School, honouring four Old Boy martyrs on Saturday, at the school campus. To Cheryl, like the families of other martyrs of the institute, the traditional memorial service was a means of getting closure.