College – Issue 39

section and was surrounded, in a cared-for section, by similar memorials. When I reached the obelisk, I stood there with a degree of awe; respect for the service of Bourne, but also for the sense of the occasion. What struck me was that here was a College Old Boy buried 11500kms from his home, isolated, in a place that had no significance. Was I the first from New Zealand to have been here? Was I the first from College? The answer, I suspect, was yes. And, what about the Bourne family? The enormity of standing there at a grave site of a man’s name I have pointed out to thousands of Year 9 boys while introducing them to the history of College, was suddenly very real. I moved on around this section of the cemetery, and suddenly on the extreme outside of straight rows was a simple cross. A cross, research had suggested

did not exist, a cross with a hint of lichen covering the details, and yet the details were clear. Here was Charles Spencer Bourne’s actual final resting place – Born at Auckland, NZ, July 17th 1882, Killed while Serving his King and his Country in the 8th New Zealand Mounted Rifles at Machavie, April 12th 1902. The enormity of seeing this grave made me think that remembrance is selective. Selective, that we remember what we think is important, or maybe even accessible. So, with the passing of time, Bourne’s memory and his exact gravesite has been forgotten, and I am grateful to have added to the remembrance by ‘finding’ there is a unique grave. And, standing at the grave only made me proud of him, his school and our country.

and Boer traitor graves. A quick visit to the graves of the latter two was a real disappointment. The traitor graves were ramshackle, while the concentration camp graves were severely derelict with broken, decaying and fallen headstones overgrown with grass. Bourne’s obelisk was situated in the Commonwealth war graves

i “In Honour: New Zealand's World War II Veterans.”,

ii Sharpe, Marty, “The Lone Kiwi Serviceman Buried on the Edge of the Sahara.” Stuff, 24 April, 2020, light/121174230/the-lone-kiwi-serviceman-buried-on-the-edge-of-the-sahara. iii

College Issue 39 2020


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