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Obituary: Ronald Desmond Mayhill (Ron) ’37


Staff Member 1956-1983

Outstanding and distinguished Grammar Old Boy, Ron Mayhill passed away on Thursday 9 July 2020, aged 96.

Ron Mayhill attended Auckland Grammar School from 1937 to 1941. He was third in class in the Senior Latin form in 1941 gaining the certificate in Latin and in French. He also received a Senior Home Nursing Certificate and was captain of the 4th Grade A Hockey team.

He enlisted in the Royal New Zealand Air Force at the age of 18 and was later posted as a bomb aimer and observer in the RAF's 75 squadron in England.  His first active day of duty was on D-Day when the Allied forces invaded Nazi-occupied France by carrying out beach landings in Normandy.

Ron was wounded in 1944 after his aircraft was hit and he was temporarily blinded in one eye by shrapnel, but he insisted that the captain continue their mission and the crew went on to complete a successful bombing run, while showing outstanding courage and devotion to duty. Click here to hear Ron in the video series Memories of Service talk about his time during World War 2

He returned home at the end of the war in 1945 at the age of 21 and went on to graduate with a BA 1952, MA (Hons) 1954, Auckland University College. Ron Mayhill taught Geography at Auckland Grammar School from 1956 to 1983. During that time he was appointed the Head of Geography and Master in Charge of Hockey. 

Ron contributed extensively outside of the classroom through the sport of hockey.  This extended to being a member of the Auckland Hockey Association.  As a player he was an Auckland Hockey representative and he coached Auckland Grammar, the Auckland Colts and New Zealand Universities. 

Ron Mayhill is recognised as a long serving master after his 28-year tenure at the School. As Mr Mayhill retired, the 9th Headmaster, Sir John Graham, described him as being respected throughout the country for his scholarship and professionalism. R.D Mayhill was someone who served his School with great distinction.

Ron was the author of four publications ‘Frontier Forsaken’ in 1947 an outline history of the Cook Islands, ‘New Zealand Geography’ in 1966, ‘Atlas for New Zealand’ in 1970 and in 1991 ‘Bombs on Target’.

He was a former president of the New Zealand Bomber Command and he contributed greatly to the community and country. He was a mentor and great icon to the younger generation.

R.D Mayhill was appointed as Knight of the national order of the Legion of Honour in 2015. The Legion of Honour is France's highest award and recognises the efforts of veterans who fought in World War II and helped to facilitate the liberation of France.

Auckland Grammar School and the Auckland Grammar School Old Boys’ Association extends its sympathies to Mr Mayhill’s family and acknowledges Mr Mayhill’s extensive service to the School and a life well led. 

The flag on the Main Block of Auckland Grammar School will be flown at half-mast as a sign of respect. 


Ron Mayhill Image