The Westwater Building
It has been announced that Dollar Academy’s new 10-classroom building housing Modern Languages and Economics will be named The Westwater Building, after former pupil Private George Westwater who was killed at Gallipoli, aged 21, almost exactly 100 years to the day prior to the completion of the building. Private Westwater is a representative of all Dollar pupils who lost their lives in the Great War, and indeed all wars.
Private George Philp Westwater died at Gallipoli on 28th June, 1915, whilst serving with 1/4th battalion, Royal Scots QER. George was brought up in Kinross and attended Dollar Academy from 1907 to 1912, before going on to work in a law office in Edinburgh.
Four other young men who had attended Dollar Academy lost their lives at Gallipoli. Lance Corporal John McDonald (FP 1909) and Corporal Charles Beveridge (FP 1909), both of The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), had been best friends at school, worked at Springburn for the North British Locomotive Co., joined the Army together and were both killed on the same day as George Westwater.
Able Seaman Hugh Hair (FP 1910) died in the same campaign on 13th July, 1915, whilst serving with Nelson Battalion of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. The area of the Gallipoli battlefield was remarkably small, and there are reports that all four of these Former Pupils met on the day that three of them were to be killed.
Trooper Douglas Jamieson (FP 1908) enlisted in Australia in January 1915 and was killed at Lone Pine Trenches on 7th August 1915, serving with the 8th Australian Light Horse.
“George Westwater was a pupil at Dollar over one hundred years ago”, said Mr David Knapman, Rector at Dollar Academy. “The story of his life and sacrifice came to light when letters written by George were loaned to the school by his niece and great niece. Pupils read extracts from the letters in a special assembly and a commemorative display was created. His letters demonstrate his essential modesty, his belief in the importance of family and community, and his cheerful determination to do his duty. The Westwater Building offers a custom-built teaching space for our Modern Languages department, with its emphasis on promoting international communication and understanding, so it is very fitting that it be dedicated in this way.”
Founded in 1818, Dollar Academy is one of the world’s oldest co-educational day and boarding schools. The main school building is a striking neo-classical design by the eminent Scottish architect William Henry Playfair, built on the bequest of Captain John McNabb, a ship owner from the parish who died in 1802. The numerous other buildings on the school’s 70-acre campus are a mixture of period and modern design and include specialised teaching areas for Science, Music, Physical Education, Music and Art, large performance venues and first-class accommodation for boarders. The Westwater Building is the most recent addition to Dollar Academy; completed in summer 2015, it offers a custom-built teaching space to house the school’s large and well-resourced languages department.
A permanent display bearing the story of Private Westwater’s life will be housed in the Westwater Building, alongside a commemorative plaque.
Members of Private Westwater’s family have been invited to a formal opening of the Westwater Building, which is due to take place at the school later this term.