Academy honour fallen former pupils in moving ceremony

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The silence was deafening until the coronet player started the haunting melody of the Last Post

We should all remember the fallen, the sacrifices they made in order that we can live in peace, and without fear of persecution.

Linlithgow Academy head boy and girl  laying wreath

Linlithgow Academy head boy and girl laying wreath

At Linlithgow Academy the students have done just that by honouring former students of the school who laid down their lives.

The ceremony was made all the more poignant by the fact that the wreath laying was carried out at the graveside of the only previous pupil to have been buried in Linlithgow.

Of the 27 pupils who died during World War 1, Andrew Douglas was returned home to be laid to rest. Many of the remaining 26 have no known graves.

Andrew was a gardener who lived with his family at the lodge, Nether Parkley, in Linlithgow. In December 1914 he joined the local Territorial Battalion, the 2/10th Royal Scots. This was a cycling unit who had its headquarters in Linlithgow.

Linlithgow Academy head boy and girl  laying wreath

Linlithgow Academy head boy and girl laying wreath

The following spring, Andrew’s unit was sent to Berwick Upon Tweed for training. On March 30. 1915, Lance Corporal David Oswald was instructing Andrew in rifle drill when his rifle discharged accidentally and Andrew was shot.

Unfortunately he did not survive his injuries and died shortly afterwards. Andrew was 21 years old. The devastated Lance Corporal Oswald then had to endure both a military and civil inquest before being cleared of murder.

Andrew’s body was returned home to Linlithgiow by train, and then to the family home at Nether Parkley.

The full military honours funeral, which was held at Linlithgow cemetery, saw the Union Jack draped coffin escorted by a Highland Light Infantry Battalion which was billeted in Linlithgow at the time.

The Gazette reported at the time: “The funeral of Private Andrew Douglas of 2-10th Royal Scots, who lost his life in a gun accident at Berwick-on-Tweed on Thursday of last week, took place last Friday afternoon from Nether Parkley Lodge, Linlithgow, to Linlithgow Cemetery.

“A detachment from the deceased’s Company under Lieutenant P.C. Thom, came from Berwick-on-Tweed to attend the obsequeries as a mark of respect for their late comrade. There was also a turnout of men and officers from the detachment of the Highland Light Infantry billeted in the town, and from which was furnished the firing party, which walked at the head of the cortage with rifles reversed. Then came the Pipe Band of the H.L.I. playing “the Flowers of the Forest,” immediately in front of the hearse.

“As the cortege pased along the street there were many manifestations of deep sorrow among the inhabitants. After burial and the conclusion of a short service the usual number of volleys were fired over the grave by the firing party.

“The deceased was a former pupil of Linlithgow Academy, and Mr Beveridge, the Rector of the Academy, made these remarks at the usual morning muster of the school: “ I regret to have sad news to-day. One of your former pupils, Pte. Andrew Douglas, of the 2-10th Battalion RS, has been accidentally shot at Berwick, where his battalion was stationed. Not from eagerness to make money, not from an ambition to gain glory, but from a simple sense of duty he had decided to enlist in the service of King and country.”

Roll call of honour for those former pupils who gave their lives.

William Dickie Andrew

22nd March 1918, Age 24.

John Arnott

24th March 1918, Age 19.

George Fleming Burns

14th July 1916, Age 24.

Robert Linkston Cockburn

20th January 1917, Age 18.

Henry Dryden Cowan

17th June 1917, Age 18.

John Braes Dougal

1st July 1916, Age 24.

Andrew Douglas

30th March 1915, Age 21.

Bryce Sinclair Dymock

23rd July 1916, Age 21.

David Victor Foot

4th May 1917, Age 19.

James Tait Fyfe

16th November 1916, Age 22.

Thomas Adams Hardie

9th April 1917, Age 20.

Evan MacDonald

10th May 1917, Age 23.

And his brother

Hamish MacDonald

14th July, 1919, Age 23.

John Mair McEwen

14th October 1918, Age 19.

John McKay

3rd June, 1917, Age 21.

Andrew McNair

25th April 1918, Age 19.

John Main

23rd March 1918, Age 36.

William McGregor Moffat

3rd May 1917, Age 21.

Robert Ramsay

18th August 1918, Age 19.

George Ritchie

11th April 1917, Age 26.

David Nicoll Smillie

9th April 1917, Age 27.

George Pringle Smith

12th April 1917, Age 25.

George Turner Watt

28th May 1915, Age 24.

George Andrew Wilson

12th July 1917, Age 25.

And his brother

James Miller Wilson

25th July 1917, Age 19.

William Wright

26th October 1917, Age 19.

William Young

3rd October 1918, Age 23.

Karen jarvis, headteacher:

“There has been a great deal of work carried out researching this, culminating in the wreath laying. Events of this nature allow the school to reflect on conflicts past and present, and our acrylic poppy display at the Academy serves as a constant reminder of fallen former pupils who have gave their lives.”