The Cruise of the Tantallon Castle by Innerleithen man Malcolm Noble

AN Innerleithen man has written a book which tells the remarkable story of five young boys who played their part at the opening of the Kiel Canal in Germany.

And all proceeds will go to Forces Children Scotland (previously the Royal Caledonian Education Trust).

Malcolm Noble is the director of the charity which was founded four days before the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 to provide accommodation, education and trade skills to young people whose parents were killed or experienced life-changing wounds during the Napoleonic Wars.

Today, the organisation works with children and young people from serving, reservist and veteran families across Scotland.

It helps them boost their confidence, develop new skills and gain valuable experiences by co-producing impactful projects and services to support mental health and wellbeing and education.

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Malcolm’s book, ‘The Cruise of the Tantallon Castle’ tells the tale five young beneficiaries of the charity and their role in an event of international importance in 1895.

He said: “In 2016, I took the decision to move the charity from London to Edinburgh and during the move I found an album of photographs in an archive which told the story. I researched the background and decided it was a story worth telling.

“The events follow the Prussia Denmark war of 1864 eventually culminated in the construction of the Kiel canal to link the North Sea at Brunsbüttel to the Baltic Sea at Kiel-Holtenau.

“Queen Victoria was invited to send a delegation to the opening of the canal and chose former prime minister William Gladstone to lead the group. Liberal MP Sir Donald Currie owned the Union Castle shipping line and the delegation travelled on one of his ships, the Tantallon Castle.

“The director of our charity thought it would be a good idea to include children from the Caledonian Asylum as it was known then on the trip and although the school was mixed five boys were chosen.

“When the Kaiser realised that the opening of the canal coincided with the anniversary of Queen Victoria who was of course his grandmother he decided that part of the celebrations would include the boys playing the pipes and dancing for the sailors who were lined up. They all doffed their caps to the boys and the event made front page news around the world.”

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