Teenager reads his First World War poem at Buckingham Palace

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A teenager has performed a poem he wrote aged 12 at an event at Buckingham Palace as part of commemorations marking the centenary of the First World War.

Hamish Scott, 15, from the Isle of Harris, was invited to attend after his poem Scapa Flow – written in Gaelic – won a competition organised by the Never Such Innocence (NSI) charity, which was set up to give children a voice in the commemorations.

He was one of more than 100 children invited to the tea party in their honour, which was hosted by Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence. The teenager read out an English translation of his poem.

The children, aged between nine and 16, were winners of an annual poetry, art and song competition which was run by the charity over the last four years to mark the centenary. Each received a hardback anthology of the work they entered for the competition.

Hamish was just 12 when he wrote a poem for his local radio station for a centenary project.

The radio team suggested he send his poem to NSI for their poetry competition and Scapa Flow won the Battle of Jutland category of the competition in 2015/16.

He 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.”

The teenager will also be attending the Armistice Centenary Service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey on Remembrance Sunday on behalf of NSI.

Accompanied by the bands of the Coldstream Guards, the Marine Drum Corps, and the RAF Salon Orchestra, the young winners performed their poetry and songs, and showcased their artworks and met high-ranking members of the Armed Forces and other dignitaries during the event this week.

NSI was set up by Lady Lucy French, whose great-grandfather Field Marshal Sir John French led the British Expeditionary Force at the start of the Great War.

She said: “We are so delighted that our principal aim for the charity, to give children a strong and powerful voice during the centenary commemorations, has been fulfilled as we look to the centenary of the Armistice.”

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