Edinburgh World Heritage - News Article


Archive Anecdotes

Snippets from the city's archives

Aug 17, 2016

Earlier this month the Edinburgh Evening News published a story reporting that George Heriot’s School is to offer full scholarships to three young Syrian refugees.

This humanitarian act mirrors actions taken by the school one hundred years ago, from August 1916 onwards, in assisting young Serbians who had fled the ravages of the Great War in their homeland.

As an ally of Serbia in World War 1, Britain gave refuge to many Serbian exiles and, here in Edinburgh, the governors and trustees of George Heriots School decided to offer scholarships to some of the the young refugees.

The first ten arrived in Edinburgh in August 1916 and eventually twenty seven Serbian boys settled in as Herioters. The boys assimilated quickly, not only through learning English, but also by displaying a love of and aptitude for rugby. Several played for Heriot's 1st XV and at one point a Serbian XV played at Inverleith. On their return to their homeland some helped establish the game of rugby in Serbia after the war.

Many of the descendants of these scholars retain links with Heriot's and indeed the current Syrian refugees are supported by bursaries deriving from one of the Serbian former pupils, Dimitrije Dulcanovic.

Sources: Louise Miller; Evening News; BBC.

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