Remembering Bertram Yong

Bertram YongThe 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 YongBertram 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

Bertram Yong

Click the links for more photos and videos of the memorial service

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