At the Western Front Way, Headmaster Rob Taylor reverently laid one of 66 wreaths from Cargilfield School upon a former Cargilfield pupils grave from the WW1.
FWH Renton showcased his rugby prowess at both Cargilfield School and Sedbergh Prep, earning his caps for outstanding performances. In commemoration of his achievements, Rob Taylor left a signed rugby ball from both School’s 1st and 2nd teams as a fitting memento.
From Albert to Ypres and culminating at the Menin Gate, Cargilfield School walked 150km in commemoration of their fallen 126 pupils during WW1.
EDINBURGH, UNITED KINGDOM, November 8, 2023 /EINPresswire.com/ — A historical fact shared by the celebrated storyteller of the Great War, Michael Morpurgo, revealed a direct link between Cargilfield School – a small Scottish independent prep school based in Edinburgh – and the founding of the Western Front Way. It inspired the Headmaster Rob Taylor to embark on a pilgrimage to visit and honour the 126 former pupils and staff who died in WW1 on the 100th anniversary of the school’s memorial Chapel built in their honour.
Michael Morpugo revealed in a broadcast the name of the soldier who conceived the Western Front Way, who was later identified as a former Head Boy of Cargilfield School. In 1915, 2nd Lt Alexander Douglas Gillespie wrote a letter to a former Headmaster while resting behind the front line and reflecting on the devastation around him;
“There are graves and crosses scattered all about, some with names on them, some are nameless, as I think my brother must be. I have been fighting around the village where he was killed these last eight months. That doesn’t trouble me much for every soil provides a grave but still, these fields are sacred, in a sense. I hope that when the peace comes our government might combine with the French government to make one long avenue between the lines from the Vosges to the sea or, at least if that’s too much, from la Bassee to Ypres all along the line of this Western Front.
I would make a fine broad road in No Man’s Land with a broad strip of ground on either side for pilgrims on foot, well planted with fruit trees and trees for shade. It would be a useful war memorial as a great road is always useful. It is a sentimental idea perhaps but we might make the most beautiful road in all the world besides being the most interesting road for future generations of Englishmen and Frenchmen.”
Gillespie was killed in action just days later.
The Headmaster, Rob Taylor, accompanied by staff, former and current pupils, and families, walked for a week along the Via Sacra, as the Way is also known, laying wreaths at the graves of 66 former pupils, participating in the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate, Ypres, and inaugurating a memorial in St. George’s Church, Ypres. Following in the footsteps of those who came before them, they were able to experience the solemnity and profoundness of the war firsthand. It was an opportunity for reflection, gratitude, and reverence for the sacrifices made by the previous generations.
The walk also formed part of the 150th celebrations of Cargilfield School, Scotland’s first Prep School, and stands as a testament to the enduring spirit within the school’s community, the importance of education and the power of remembrance. The commemorative walk has been a profound and meaningful experience for all involved, ensuring that the sacrifices and contributions of the former pupils of Cargilfield School will forever be remembered and honoured.
As the words above the memorial in our School Chapel instruct us: They gave their lives that you might live in freedom. See to it that they be not forgotten.
To gain insights into Rob Taylor’s Western Front Way diary or to learn more about Cargilfield’s 150th anniversary and acts of kindness, please contact the Head of Marketing at Cargilfield School – Tina Liversidge.