A 98-year-old Taradale man will today cement his late brother's legacy by gifting Taradale Primary School a music scholarship to the tune of $100,000.

Jim Clayton is a former pupil of the school, while older brother, Sydney Clayton, taught there before serving in World War II.

A "gifted" musician, Sydney could "play anything".

Jim will pay tribute to his brother by harnessing young musical talent at the school.


"He always loved his music, I remember we went to the pictures once and he came home and played every song from the film without learning them."

Members of the Clayton family still attend the school and Jim recently visited to lay a wreath for his late brother.

"He was such a great teacher because he was so patient, he never used the strap."

Jim had initially planned to leave the scholarship in his will but decided to gift it earlier to see the benefit to the school.

In 1939 when a world war was declared he and Sydney joined up, with Jim heading for the army and Sydney the air force. But Jim, a self-confessed gardening guru, soon returned home as the production of food was a crucial part of the home-front effort.

Jim said his mother and father were extremely worried during that time.

Sydney's plane was shot down over the island of New Britain, just east of New Guinea, on June 5, 1944.

He died instantly.

The Clayton family back in Hawke's Bay received a notification that Sydney had been listed as missing in action.

"It was very distressing for our mother. It really got her down because she feared he had fallen into Japanese hands," Jim said.

His remains from the crash site were recovered and later buried in the New Zealand section of the Cemetery at Bourail, New Caledonia.

It was not until 2001 that a further, extensive evacuation took place at the site by an American agency set up to locate and recover United States war dead on foreign battlefields.

Aircraft part numbers, forensic evidence and personal effects confirmed it was Sydney's aircraft.

Jim was happy for his brother to be finally laid to rest. He said after 55 years of not knowing what happened to his older brother, the news gave him a sense of closure.