Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Footprints: Alvin Vincent Dunn - Well-travelled soldier takes final salute

Published:Tuesday | March 29, 2016 | 3:00 AM

Alvin Vincent Dunn lived a very interesting life, one in which he embarked upon many journeys.

And it was only last year that he learnt his registered name and date of birth - Basil Elphinstone Higgins, born in Epworth district, St Ann, to William Marshall Dunn and Celestine Higgins on November 14, 1923.

At age 13, he was adopted by Methodists Isis and Clarence Johnson. Clarence was then headmaster at Alexandria Primary School in St Ann. They regarded him as a bright boy.

The bright chap was also a brave one as he volunteered to serve with the Royal Air Force during World War II. He worked as a Morse code operator, but also took the opportunity to obtain a certificate in the teaching of geography while in England.

In 1948, he returned to Jamaica with two medals.

Dunn evolved into an ardent and punctual Methodist preacher who lived in Richmond Park in St Andrew, Sandside in St Mary, and Walkerswood and Alderton in St Ann. He spent his latter years in St Andrew.

He worked for many years in the probation department and was a Family Court and Crisis Centre counsellor. He also taught at Kingston Senior School, where he met his wife-to-be, Gertrude Melita Murray. They got married on December 16, 1950. The union eventually produced Celia, Grace, Alwyn, Paulette and Carol.

His children remember him as a stern, but loving family man who hated lateness and idleness. Education was also important to him and his wife. In 1968, they entered the University of the West Indies to read for different disciplines.

Music, sports, agriculture, photography and birdshooting were some of his passions, they say. The man with the beautiful tenor attended Coke and Saxthorpe Methodist and was a member of the Saxthorpe choir.

They recall merry Christmas eves in St Ann's Bay, beach trips and adventurous, yet educational, family outings to interesting places around the island.

He was the driver, the beloved father and husband.

"Our mother was the yin to his yang and, speaking of their marriage, he once said, 'It had its ups and downs, but we pledged not to go to bed without looking each other in the face'."

Alvin faced many challenges in his long life and he overcame them all. His wife predeceased him in 2002, and his journeys halted.

It was not an easy road, his children said, "but our father travelled well. And so, Uncle Alvin, Brother Dunn, Josiah, Daddy Dunn, Old Soldier, we salute you for the final time. Farewell".