The remarkable bond that ties those who have passed through the portals of ACS was recently
demonstrated when about 25 from the ACS Class of 67/69 gathered at the graveside
of Second-Lieutenant Bertram Yong for a memorial service on 8 November 2017, the
45th anniversary of his death. Bertram was killed at a young age of 20 when his
Hunter jet crashed into a hill during a training flight in Britain.
Bertram was an all-rounder in school with a bright future ahead of him. In his letter
to the press, his former teacher, the late Mr P. V. Thomas, described him as ‘a
handsome well-made and well-mannered boy, a good student and an outstanding
sportsman who brought honour to both ACS and Singapore”. He was one of
Singapore’s top athletes but gave up the opportunity to represent Singapore at
the 1969 South East Asia Peninsular Games in Bangkok to join the air force.
According to Ng Wei Min, “I have known Bertram since Primary 1 and we
became the best of friends. Although he was well known in school, he never
took advantage of his popularity and was always humble. He was real ‘cool’
and I have never seen him lose his temper. Indeed, he was an exemplary role
model for many of us”.
45 years on, many from the Class of 67/69 still remember Bertram fondly. Their
love and thoughts for him are aptly expressed by Rabi Doraisamy in these words:
Bertram was “Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.”
He did not grow “old, as we that are left grow old:
Age did not weary him, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember him.”
Sadly, he “mingled not with his laughing comrades again;
He sat no more at familiar tables of home;
He had no lot in our labour of the day-time;”
But truly, he was remembered not just for a day; not just for a decade
But come 45 years, his memory is fresh in our minds and we will
remember him “at the going down of the sun and in the morning”.
[Quotes from The Fallen by Robert Laurence Binyon]
In Bertram’s passing, the sports world lost an outstanding athlete, the
air force a promising young officer and the country a young citizen
of great qualities of heart and mind. He left a vacuum in the hearts
of many. We will miss him and we salute his memory.
The ACS Class of 1967/69
Click the links for more
videos of the memorial service