3rd Our Lady’s Pals Battalion visit to the Battlefields 9th -14th June

2013_0614_1623Report by Major Letham

On the 9th of June the 3rd Our Lady’s Pals Battalion led by Colonel Smith, Major Letham,  Lieutenant Pegard and Captain Halket left Motherwell to visit the Western Front.  We followed in the footsteps of those men who fought at Loos and the Somme in France and Ypres in Belgium.

 Experiences which stood out

  • The atmosphere on the bus when singing the First World War songs.  The 3rd Our Lady’s Pals were outstanding.
  • British and German graveyards where we heard amazing stories about individual men
  • The monuments at Thiepval and the Menin Gate which are dedicated to the missing in battle.
  • Our remembrance ceremony at Poelkapelle Cemetery  Calum Wilson read out the poem “In Flanders Field”;  Hannah Coakely lit a candle and placed it on the altar;  Ryan Harbinson and Kieran Cubis placed a wreath of poppies on the altar with a message from the 3rd Pals
  • We visited the grave of one of our own from the Motherwell/Wishaw district.  In a very moving ceremony we placed a cross and a poppy on the grave of Private Peter Lynch from Cleland.  Peter was the great-great-uncle of Daniel Leonard and this was the first time someone had paid a visit to his grave.

Down Time

We had a great time on the Ferry.  We all loved the food and the disco.  Members of the public on the ship were so impressed with our dancing and singing that we received standing ovations.  Corey Slavin’s dancing in particular was amazing.  In the beautiful medieval city of Bruges we went sightseeing on the canal boats and on the horse and carriages.  There were so many souvenirs to choose from and most of us brought back masses of Belgian chocolate.

We were promised before we left on the trip that we would return to Motherwell as changed people.  This has undoubtedly been the case.

For more information and pictures, check out this site.

Outward Bound

Eighteen 4th year pupils accompanied Miss Halket and Miss McGinty to the shores of Loch Eil for a week of fun, freezing and ‘dynamic activities’.

The group was split into different clans, mixing with pupils from all of the other schools present; any initial shyness was soon forgotten in the demand to help out their clans.

Activities included raftbuilding, whole day expeditions, parajumping and the opportunity to face up to your fears, like the dauntless Miss Halket, who jumped into the loch, despite being unable to swim, and then coaxed Miss McGinty to do the same.

The instructors were highly complimentary about everyone in the OLHS group for their enthusiasm and excellent behaviour.

Willing victims:

Mark Brunton, Rebecca Cairney, Rachel Clinton, Jack Divers, Hannah Eadie, Declan Foy, Rebecca Hopkins, Louise Mancini, Emily McCafferty, Christopher McCluskey, Gabrielle McPherson, Ryan McQuade, Jordan Mooney, Emma O’Neill, Tammy Rae, Jamie Rankin, Stella Sewell, Jonathon Watt