Dunnikier pupils’ WW1 stories evoke great emotion

Eve Trewavas (P6) and Lazo Jelal (P7) at the Wall of Remembrance. Pic: FPA
Eve Trewavas (P6) and Lazo Jelal (P7) at the Wall of Remembrance. Pic: FPA

Dunnikier Primary School has collected a treasure trove of war memorabilia after asking its pupils to take part in a remembrance project.

Staff say they have been “amazed” by the response from the pupils, who have donated pictures and stories of family members who have fought in wars.

The results have been collected and displayed on a wall of remembrance inspired by the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One.

Deputy head Lesley Main led a school assembly where the children were encouraged to tell their stories. Pupils from P4 and P7 spoke and explained what Remembrance Day is and how the poppy came to be the symbol.

She said: “I was amazed by the stories the children brought in. Some of them were quite heart-breaking, but it shows me that we haven’t forgotten those who have given their lives for their country.”

Lesley herself has a family story to tell. Her great-uncle Sam Sutherland was killed in World War One.

She said: “He was born in Shetland and had emigrated to Canada, where he worked as a minister. He signed up to Canadian battalion where he was referred to as ‘The Fighting Parson’.

“Unfortunately he was killed by machine gun fire in France on September 2, 1918, just weeks before the end of the war.”

Children who spoke at the assembly included Lazo Jelal from P7, whose grandfather, having fought in the Kurdistan army against Saddam Hussein, was awarded a medal of honour, and P6’s Eve Trewavas, whose great-grandfather, Alexander Langlands, fought at the Battle of the Somme.

Her grandfather, David Langlands, Alexander’s grandson, said: “He was a miner from Lochore when he was called up and assigned to the tunnelling division.

“His job was to tunnel under No Man’s Land and then under the German trenches.

“Once they had reached their target, they would pack the tunnel with explosives and then it would be blown up to be timed with an attack across No Man’s Land.

“It was a very dangerous job and he was killed in a mustard gas attack.”

Lesley added the children’s stories have been put into a book of remembrance.