Schoolchildren in Ypres to honour war dead

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School pupils have made a pilgrimage to the battlefields of northern Europe.

The group from Loretto visited the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing – a war memorial in Ypres, Belgium, which commemorates the names of thousands of Commonwealth servicemen who fell near the Ypres Salient during the First World War and who have no known grave.

Six Loretto pipers performed at the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate.

Lawrence Bissell, 13, from Inveresk, James Shaw, 12, from Haddington, Hannah Coleman, 12, from Musselburgh, Rory Morgan, 12, from Stenton, Lorne Robb, 13, from Humbie, and Edmund Wood, 12, who lives in Musselburgh, played at the daily evening service at the Menin Gate, which bears the names of 54,896 Commonwealth servicemen.

Loretto pupils, Sam Hewitson, 12, from Wallyford, and 12-year-old Kate MacKay, who lives in Haddington, were the first to lay a wreath at the memorial.

The Last Post Association has warm memories of Loretto’s visit five years ago when pupils also performed at the ceremony. The school has been asked to take part in a series of events taking place over the First World War centenary, from 2014 to 2018.

The site of the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing was chosen because so many soldiers passed along the route on their way to the front.