Pupils, staff, former pupils, families and invited guests participated in our Otaki Memorial Service on Thursday 12 March 2020.
The whole school service led by Rev Louis Kinsey paid tribute to Captain Archibald Smith the Captain of the SS Otaki and William Esson Martin a crew member aboard the SS Otaki both fellow Gordonians. We also recognised the ongoing partnership with Otaki College in New Zealand, where current school captain Patrick is due to visit this Summer.
Cadets Sgt Gajhana R and Sgt Vaibhav C (S6) and the School Captains Iona P and Patrick R (S6) performed readings and the RGC Pipe Band played in front of the historic Auld Hoose with additional musical contributions from Mr Haggert and Pipe Major Sumner.
Guests and CCF cadets paid tribute to Captain Archibald Smith at the memorial stone on Schoolhill where Ella S (S4) read her Otaki Poem.
The Waves, They Carried a Message
I touched the edge of glory.
My life, a story to be remembered,
My ship, my faithful friend.
The ocean it spoke to me.
I heard the sound of sorrow,
Those people who I cherished,
My tears, my scars of battle.
The life I sadly lost.
I saw myself sink with the ship,
I am the Captain, I sacrificed myself,
My dreams where I found courage,
My shipmates, who would tell the story.
I could taste the salty water,
A voice, it spoke to me,
This was my chance to do the right thing,
I am only a man, but I am the Captain of the SS Otaki.
I felt the rush of panic,
The shouts that were full of strength,
The fear, the vulnerability of us all,
I gave the order, that I would not follow.
I knew what I had to do,
Fear raced through my body,
My hopes, my dreams for the future suddenly ceased,
My crew who I had to save.
I thought of what would come of my decision,
My bravery, chosen for me,
My family, the people who l miss every day,
My fate was sealed.
I could smell what lay ahead,
I relaxed, this was my choice.
I thought of stories, where there were heroes,
The waves, they carried a message.
Guests then visited the commemorative plaque and bench, established by the family of Ruari MacNeill (Class of '74) who was both an Otaki Scholar and a Royal Naval Reservist, to recognise the bravery shown by the crew on board the SS Otaki.