Remembrance Day at The Edinburgh Academy has always been an important time of year – each school hosts an assembly and observes the minute silence, as we have done for many years. We honour the memory of our fallen Academy brothers with poems and speeches from our current students. The hall is always packed full of pupils and staff eager to pay their respects to the former students who gave their lives over 100 years ago.
The Edinburgh Academy had 2 Victoria Cross recipients in the First World War, Walter Lorrain Brodie, who was killed in action in 1918, and Allan Kerr. Brodie was awarded the Cross at age 29, as a lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion, for his bravery near Becelaere, Belgium in 1914. He cleared the British trenches of enemy soldiers, preventing a large attack and an even bigger loss of British troops.
Lieutenant Kerr was 36 upon being awarded his Victoria Cross for holding off 500 enemy soldiers for three hours in early 1918, with only himself and a sergeant being unwounded, only suffering from exhaustion from lack of food and gas poisoning. He was then captured and held as a prisoner-of-war until December 1918, after which he was awarded the Cross.
Another notable Academical is Admiral Andrew Cunningham, a highly decorated officer. He was given command of the HMS Scorpion before war broke out and remained in that position throughout the following years. In 1915, the Scorpion and Cunningham were involved in the attack on the Dardanelles, for which Cunningham was promoted to commander and awarded the Distinguished Service Order. His seven years as captain of the Scorpion earned him the reputation for first class seamanship.
The re-dedication of our war memorial is taking place this afternoon, following a discovery of several names were unintentionally excluded from the original lists. It was during the research for “Pro Patria Mori, The Edinburgh Academy at War 1914-18” that this was discovered, and two new panels have been made to correct this.
The last time a dedication for this memorial took place was in 1923, making the re-dedication a very special way to mark 100 years since the war ended.