Two Lincoln University diploma holders who served in World War 2 received special mention when a Roll of Honour board was rededicated at a special ceremony within the Lincoln Anzac Day Service at the Lincoln Event Centre on Wednesday.
Henry Findon, a Diploma of Agriculture student in 1931-32 who returned in 1939 for a Diploma of Valuation and Farm Management, and Bill Johnston, a Diploma of Agriculture student in 1946, have their names listed with over 100 others on the Lincoln community Roll of Honour board now relocated from the old Lincoln Community Centre in Gerald Street to the new Lincoln Event Centre in Meijer Drive, Lincoln.
The board, which records the names of local Lincoln men who served in the armed forces during the Boer War and the first and second world wars, was dedicated in its new location by the Rev Kim Peters, representing Lincoln churches.
Henry Findon, a potato researcher in the agronomy division of the DSIR, served as a gunner in the artillery in the Pacific. Bill Johnston, son of a well-known Lincoln doctor, served in the navy, including time on the famous HMNZS Achilles.
At the re-dedication there were short speeches concerning eight of those named on the board. Hamish Johnston, Bill’s son, spoke about his father, while Lincoln University alumnus and Community Committee chairperson Ivy Harper referred to Henry Findon in an address which focussed on the service of all Lincoln University students in the first and second world wars.
At least six former students of Canterbury Agricultural College, now Lincoln University, fought at Gallipoli, she said, and three were killed on the first day of the fighting, 25 April. They were Len Grimwade of Auckland, Harold Harding of Dargaville, and Don Bennett from Auckland.
Over 220 former students served in the First World War and over 50 did not return.
In the Second World War, over 350 men who had been students up to and including 1945 served in the armed forces. After the war many new students entered the college who had been in the services. These students made up the huge “rehab” intakes of the immediate postwar years.
Canterbury Agricultural College students and graduates served in the army, navy, air force and fleet air arm. The reached ranks as high as major-general. They won decorations from the Victoria Cross (Captain Charles Upham) and George Cross (Pilot Officer Dennis Herrick) to the Distinguished Flying Cross (for example, Flight Lieutenant Jim McCaw, All Black Richie McCaw’s grandfather) and the Military Medal (Corporal Frank Coe, a kinsman of Selwyn’s Mayor Kelvin Coe).
Over 40 students from the pre-1945 years gave their lives in the war - in Europe, Asia, the Pacific, North America, New Zealand and elsewhere.
“It is good to see the names of former students perpetuated on the Roll of Honour board along with the others from the Lincoln area,” said Ivy. “We salute them all.”