A Harris schoolboy is on his way home from London after a trip to commemorate the centenary of the Armistice which ended the First World War. He attended the service at Westminster Abbey on Sunday (November 11th).

15-year-old Hamish Scott, who is in S4 at Sir E Scott School in Tarbert, was also at Buckingham Palace last week, reading his poem, Scapa Flow, at a tea party for schoolchildren hosted by Vice-Admiral Sir Tim Laurence.

Hamish’s poem was a winner when he was just 12 years old, in a schools’ poetry competition run by the youth project Never Such Innocence, and was written to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of Jutland in 2016.

Since his first win, Hamish has also won further competitions with poetry written in Gaelic, including this year’s winning poem, entitled ‘Misneachd na Pioba’ (Inspiration of the Bagpipes). He recited this at the RAF centenary event at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow.

Hamish said: “Growing up in the Outer Hebrides (a place that proportionally lost the most people during the First World War), surrounded by the Gaelic culture, I was immersed in the songs and poetry telling of the Great War when the men left their families never to return.

"After a while, it just felt right to put in my own contribution and it was NSI who really gave me that opportunity, and I couldn't be more grateful. I am especially happy that the Gaelic language has a place in this book, and I am privileged it's some of my own poetry that fills this role.”

At Buckingham Palace, alongside other young winners, Hamish met high ranking members of the Armed Forces and other dignitaries, and received a beautiful hardback anthology of the work entered for the competition.

Never Such Innocence aims to engage children and young people across the world with the centenary of the First World War through poetry, art and song. Poems written for the competition are included in a book of poetry and art to which was published on November 7th.

The picture shows Hamish reciting his poem at Buckingham Palace, with members of the band of the Coldstream Guards listening intently behind him. (Richard Davenport).

Scapa Flow

The ships arrive
Grey ghosts appearing through the mist
Scapa Flow

Home of Battleship
Longboats of the modern age

It was War

For Scapa Flow

Defences are up

Block ships, booms and barrier
Artillery and Minefield
Prepared for attack

Was Scapa Flow

Entertainment was wanted,
For the bored sailors

A golf course on Flotta
Boxing matches on the ships
Sailors were content

At Scapa Flow

Battle imminent
Combating the Hun
Dogger Bank And Jutland
The fleet departing
From Scapa Flow

The War...
Won

The German fleet... Interned

Not without a cost
Thousands of lives lost to the deep.
The fragile peace begins
Scapa Flow

 
(This post has been amended since first publication to include the last verse which had been inadvertently omitted.)