I am always interested in military history links between Scotland and the Balkans, so this story in today’s Scotsman newspaper caught my eye.
To mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, George Heriot’s school in Edinburgh has posted on its website the first instalment of what will be a four-year project designed to chart the stories of 27 Serbian boys, aged 12 to 17, who were taken in by the educational establishment in 1916.
These boys had experienced the harrowing ‘retreat’ over the Albanian mountains to the coast and then on to Corfu.
The sporting interest comes from the boys playing rugby, creating a Serbian team. They are credited with bringing the game to Serbia after the war.
The last surviving ‘boy’ was Dimitrije Dulkanovic who explained when interviewed in his eighties: “The prime of our lives were spent here in this beautiful country with your grandfathers and grandmothers. At that war time we were homeless and parentless so our gratitude to Scotland and the Scottish people will last till the end of our lives.”
Good story and well done to the school for recording it.