Shell shock

When Cambridge High School library manager Glenys Bichan popped into school this week to get ready for a new school year, there on her desk was a mounted shell case from the HMS Achilles missing for years.

“I am so flipping stoked,” she told The News.

Details of where the shell case, presented to the school by Chief of Naval Staff Rear-Admiral Richard Washbourn on 17 July 1964, has been all this time are sketchy.

“It is dusty and yucky, I won’t clean it yet until I find out the story,” said Bichan.

The school appealed for the shell case’s return in The News on 15 January.

There was a sense of guilt from several at the school as then principal George Marshall promised to look after and value the shell case as it was a reminder of the toils and sacrifices of those who had gone before.

That included former pupil Able Seaman Archibald Cooper Hirst Shaw who died of multiple injuries to his chest after the HMS Achilles opened fire on the Admiral Graf Spee on 13 December 1939 at the World War II Battle of River Plate.

Once cleaned, the shell case will feature in a formal opening for the school’s new Marshall Archives facility within the library.

Photos, newspaper and magazine clippings dating back to the school’s establishment in 1883, will go on display.

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