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This article was published 15/12/2010 (2442 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Even Sherlock Holmes might have had trouble solving this little mystery.
But Kelvin High School could still use the English detective’s famous powers of deduction right now, as the search for the missing Kelvin Memorial Book is underway.
The treasured tome was taken from the school’s historical vault several years ago.
The book lists the names of all the former Kelvin graduates who served in the Second World War and was the second in a series of two, listing names from M to Z.
Each name is handwritten and each page is painted by hand, making it a unique and invaluable historical document.
With preparations now underway for the school’s 100th anniversary celebrations in 2012, key organizers are now putting out a plea to Winnipeggers past and present to help try and recover this missing treasure.
First on the witness stand is Kelvin High School principal Jim Brown, who stresses there will be "no questions asked" or criminal action taken if the book is safely returned to its rightful place.
"To the best of my understanding the book was taken in the late ’80s," Brown said. "Someone broke the glass display case in our vault which is kept in an alcove in the building."
Brown said his best deduction is that the incident was a childish prank by a student that backfired and that whoever perpetrated it was too scared to own up to it or has just forgotten about it over time.
"To the school, this book is extremely valuable, but to someone who collects books it’s probably worth zero. We’re hoping by putting the word out that it might be buried at a used book store or gathering dust in someone’s basement. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime book and we’ll be grateful to recover it," he added.
In terms of evidence, Brown said that information found on the remaining book indicates that the general layout, design and illuminations were done by former Kelvin art teacher Mr. E. W. Sellors. The script lettering was done by Mr. J. W. Young. The acknowledgements were from the Honour Roll Committee, Kelvin Technical School, April 3, 1946.
Kelvin graduate Salin Guttormsson takes up the story as a character witness.
"I am a third generation Kelvin graduate. My mother was there before me and my daughter is currently in Grade 9. And by the 100th anniversary in 2012, my son will be there, making it four generations," Guttormsson said.
Guttormsson added that her grandmother was in the first ever graduating class of the original school in 1912, so it’s not hard to see why she feels the recovery of the memorial book is so significant.
"It struck me as being really important, especially as this comes on the heels of Remembrance Day. My great, great uncle Coulson Norman Mitchell was the recipient of both the Victoria Cross and Military Cross, so we make a point in our family of bringing home the significance of this to our children," Guttormsson said.
Acting as an expert witness is John Perrin, a Kelvin graduate from 1968, who sits on the school’s 100th anniversary committee. He said there is talk of having the missing book professionally reproduced, although that’s not the best case scenario.
"It’s a valuable book and it will be costly to have it redone by hand, but the real value here is the memorialization of those who lost their lives," Perrin said, noting that a list of all the names in the book still — thankfully — exists.
"This book needs to be found, because it’s very much part of the history of our community. We don’t care who took it. Just put it in a bag and bring it back," Perrin said.
If you are in possession of the stolen item, or have any information leading to its whereabouts, please contact the school or drop the book off anonymously. Kelvin High School is located at 155 Kingsway. For more information, call 474-1492 or email email@example.com.