Maurice Joseph Kellit, class '45
Maurice as prefect in 1945
The Union is saddened to report the passing of past man, Maurice J Kellit, class of '45.
April 6th 2013, The death has occurred of Maurice J. Kellit of Wavertree, Liverpool and Ballmena, Antrim and latterly Tikokino, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, aged 85
Maurice came to us in 1939 from Wavertree in Liverpool and he also had family up Ballymena direction in Antrim. He spent six very happy years at the College, as he oft reminded us, and as recently as January of twelve months ago, he was reminiscing on the joys of life at Knock -
“The news you send <the death of Brian Moylett> has a tinge of sadness, but then all our generation are pretty near the end of the road! I am about to complete my 84th year. My email was triggered by an old photograph which opened the floodgates of memory. Brian and I knocked around together at Castleknock but the most vivid memory I have is of the end of one summer term when we were both left at the school awaiting collection by parents. They gave us breakfast at the school and then the two of us took off for the city; by day two we had run out of money and resorted to the hock shops around Amiens Street to get more! Brian had a beautiful new tailor made suit which he thought should be worth a fiver! I was astonished at his boldness. Then on day three he took me to meet his mother Frances and I never can forget the kindliness and warmth of her welcome as we sat around in the old Wicklow Hotel surrounded by all her shopping packages. I also sensed a woman of great competence.”
The 1945 chronicle opens with “ We congratulate and wish good luck to this year's senior school chroniclers— Maurice Kellit and Tommy Dodd : they'll need it too” and thereafter Maurice features heavily in the Debating Society, Rugby reports and as the only member of the year to matriculate with an Oxford Certificate.
After College he briefly entered the shipping business in Liverpool which no doubt helped him make it back to the 1947 Union dinner that followed the 22 - 0 Ireland victory over England at Landsdowne road. He enjoyed both events tremendously as per his note in the 1948 chronicle. He then took a commission with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, initially stationed with the Army of the Rhine at Münster and then Aden in Arabia, where the 1959 chronicle reports this letter from Major Maurice J. Kellit -
"Life here is most interesting. There is plenty to do and see, and then there is rather a quaint old fashioned war going on, on the Yemen frontier. The frontier itself is a fascinating place. One lives at a height of about 7,000 ft., and so the climate is quite perfect ; being pleasantly warm during the day and cold at night. There are practically no roads and so all supplies have to be flown into the Battalion areas. The tribesmen are fine dignified people with no contact with the outer world. They have a great deal of charm and an overwhelming sense of hospitality. I shall be here for the rest of this year, certainly, and it you know of anyone passing through Aden do tell them to look me up."
Maurice retired his commission in 1966 and moved to New Zealand no doubt amongst other things to pursue his love of fishing and his interest in military history where he published Ein' Feste Burg as part of a series he was working on. He never though forgot his old alma mater, and as recently as last year we received the below note -
“This is Maurice Kellit back again writing to ask if you can tell me anything about the photographic archive. I saw it in 1945, box after box of glass plates, high quality stuff going back to the early years of photography. I am wondering if it has been catalogued. In our day the pictures were taken by an old fellow we called 'Gunpowder Pete' because of the cloak and magnesium flares..”
We sent him back some pictures via the Moylett family in Ballina, and perhaps it's best to end with his thank you note -
"I will enjoy checking everyone out. I have just got my machine back on line again after a week or two of tantrums and talking gobbledegook to a call centre in the Philippines! Hope all is well in Ballina with spring flowers all around. Is there still heaps of fishing there? Summer is about to end here and the leaves are beginning to blow around and the first snow on the hills. Say hello to Rachael and the bold Barretts."
Requiescat in Pace.