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Ferry pupils to attend ANZAC commemorations

Colette McCourt, Caitaidh Thomson and Tabitha Kobine.
Colette McCourt, Caitaidh Thomson and Tabitha Kobine.

Grove Academy pupils are to attend a service commemorating the role the armed forces of New Zealand and Australia played in the First World War.

The fifth year pupils, joined by principal teacher of history Mr John Anderson, will attend the special event on April 25 – ANZAC day – at Edinburgh Castle.

In doing so, they will be the only school pupils in Scotland invited to join in the memorial.

Colette McCourt, Caitaidh Thomson and Tabitha Kobine have been researching the history of the Great War and were invited specially by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

The trio, along with others in their class, have studied headstones of Commonwealth graves situated in Barnhill cemetery.

Last year, they commemorated the life of former Grove Academy pupil Alexander Finlay Campbell, who died during the conflict on September 22 1917 in a flying accident.

His death occurred two days after the start of the Battle of Menin Road Ridge, which was part of the wider third Battle of Ypres).

Mr Campbell’s tombstone sits in the Broughty Ferry graveyard, and the pupils held an event on the 100th anniversary of his death last year.

Teacher John Anderson said: “The pupils have been invited by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

“They have been volunteering for the CWGC since August.

“In particular, they have been researching the names of over 20 former soldiers from the First World War who are buried in Barnhill cemetery and have been holding short commemoration ceremonies to remember these soldiers, some of whom went to Grove Academy.

“They have also been researching graves belonging to men from Belgium and South Africa and have been liaising with towns in the European country to see whether there are any surviving family members, in order to find out more about the men’s lives.”

Mr Anderson said it was heartening to the pupils take such an active role in history.

Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand which commemorates all soldiers from those Commonwealth countries who have fought in conflicts since the First World War.

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