Lower Sixth Form parent, Mrs Catherine Blythe, travelled back to Belgium, where she lived with her family before moving to Edinburgh, to visit WWI sites, and, in particular, to visit graves and memorials of Merchistonians who died fighting for their country in the 1914 – 1918 conflict. Her friend, Selena Isaac worked tirelessly and with great determination to discover their resting places.
At Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery and Memorial to the Missing, the names of Captain George Muir Thornton, Captain Charles William Hewer, and Major Hugh Paterson Cochrane were located; at Menin Gate, the Merchistonians identified were 2nd Lieutenant David Malcolm Addis, Lieutenant John George Sherriff, Captain Lewis Alexander McAfee, 2nd Lieutenant Kenneth Stephen Miller, and Trooper Norris McGowan. At Sanctuary Wood, the grave of Private James Hamilton Maxwell was found, and finally, at Hooge Crater, that of Lieutenant Donald Herbert Hutchinson.
Catherine and Selena placed crosses obtained from Poppy Scotland in Stockbridge, forming another link between these members of the Merchiston family whose lives were cut tragically short, the city in which they spent their youth, and the Merchiston of today. We thank them both for making this “pilgrimage”, and for all the research which went into it, and for ensuring that these Merchiston names are not forgotten.
The famous words of Lawrence Binyon in his poem For the Fallen, recited every year at Remembrance services, are, as ever, extremely apt:
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.