About Mr.Stewart

Depute Head Teacher at Preston Lodge High School Head of Gosford House. Volunteer Presenter on East Coast 107.6FM.

Battlefields 2016: The Last Post

The Fourth Preston Lodge Pals’ Battalion are now back on home soil, having finished their visit to the Western Front.

Yesterday the Pans Pals spent the morning exploring the northern parts of the Ypres Salient, including Essex Farm Cemetery, where John McCrae conceived In Flanders Fields, and a very emotional visit to Poelkappele Cemetery. The Pipe Band then marched us down the Passchendaele ridge, before they stilled the largest British military cemetery in the world with a stirring rendition of Highland Cathedral, led by Sam Addis and Becky Pollard. Declan Till’s moving rendition of The Green Fields of France was a very fitting conclusion.  After paying our respects at Langemark German Cemetery we headed to Ypres, for some rest and relaxation.

In the evening we attended the Menin Gate ceremony.  Our band did our whole school community proud with a stirring rendition of Amazing Grace.

Erin Ritchie then showed Ypres the very best of Preston Lodge with her immaculate rendition of Flowers of the Forest, and Declan Till laid a wreath on behalf of East Lothian cadets.

We then moved to Perth China Wall Cemetery to carry out our own act of remembrance. The Pals chose Dillon Blyth, Joy Kennedy, Ollie Skinner and Hannah Yorkston as our Presentation Party. They were impressive, as our group remembered the boys who didn’t come home.

We were delighted to have trustees of the Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust join us for this very special day.  One trustee, Angus Tulloch, was formally inducted into the Back Seat Boys, much to everyone’s amusement!

Many thanks to Robert Ross, our Mercat Tours guide, and Steve Lynn, our wonderful driver – both now honorary PLers.  Thanks, too, to all the staff and students, who made this important trip such a wonderful experience, and to our Pipe Band – champions of Belgium, and so much more.  The final word should go to one of our students, whose evaluation stated ‘the Battlefields Experience was the best time of my life’.

Here’s to the Fifth Battalion of the Preston Lodge Pals. Ypres awaits.


Battlefields 2016

The Fourth Prestonpans Pals Battalion spent today retracing the steps of soldiers on the first day of the Battle of the Somme – the bloodiest day in the British military history with almost 60,000 casualties. The first stop was Newfoundland Park at Beaumont Hamel, the site of great bravery and loss for Scottish and Canadian regiments. The Pans Pals recreated the fateful steps of the Newfoundland regiment most of whom were mown down by German machine guns before they had even reached the front-lines of their own trenches. A few hundred yards down the same front line lies a memorial to the 51st Highland Division who suffered enormous casualties in taking German trenches. Here the group gathered to pay their respects whilst Saul Sweeney played the Dark Isle.

After a visit to Thiepval, a monument to the 70,000 missing British soldiers from the Somme, the Pans Pals saw Lochnagar Crater the site of a massive explosion on the first day of the Somme. The final stop was the Canadian National Memorial at Vimy Ridge where Fergus McLintock played Flowers o’ the Forest, gathering a crowd of very impressed Canadian tourists.

After returning to our excellent accommodation at Peace Village in Messines for tea and a daily debrief and reflection session with Mercat Tour Guide Rob, the day was rounded off with a hotly contested game of football between the pipers and drummers.

Football was the real winner as the drummers ‘edged’ a thrilling contest 12-5.

Vimy Ridge

Vimy Ridge

Newfoundland Trenches

Newfoundland Trenches

51st Highland Regiment Memorial

51st Highland Regiment Memorial

Pool of Peace



Pipe Band Win in Europe!

Congratulations to our Senior Pipe Band, who were winners at the Belgian Pipe Band Championship on Saturday.  Competing against a strong field, including Grade 2 bands, in the Open Grade competition, they came out on top.  It was a baking hot day, and the determination and focus the band showed in testing conditions was truly impressive.

Congratulations, too, to our Junior Band, who came a very creditable 5th in a strong Grade 4 field. You can see both bands competing below: