A trip to Ypres brought the horrors of the First World War home for Corsham students as the nation prepares to mark the centenary of the start of the conflict.
Year 9 students from The Corsham School visited the Belgian war graves last year, to pay their respects to the men from the town who perished in the war.
Student Holly Trippe said: “It’s different learning about it in school to seeing it for real. We were in a model trench at one point, it was only raining for 15 minutes and it was coming up to our legs, but that was nothing compared to what they went through on the front line.
“Seeing the names on the memorial makes you appreciate the connection to the past. One of our friends found her great-grandfather’s name, which was quite emotional, as she didn’t know it was there.”
Events have been planned across the county to mark the start of the war, including at Corsham Town Hall, which was used as a field hospital for injured troops, and many of the students have developed a better understanding of the wider impact of the war.
Lottie Temblett-Wood said: “We had an English assignment to write a letter home from the trenches, and it makes it much easier as you can picture what it was like.
“It surprised a lot of us how moved we were, and Remembrance Day meant a lot more this year. You wear a poppy because that’s what everyone does, but now I realise people died for our country, and it makes you appreciate what we have today. It was all quite humbling.”
The trip was organised by history teacher Fiona Cummins. She said: “We worked with Wiltshire historian Richard Broadhead, who used the names on the town’s war memorial so we could find them on the panels at the cemetery.
“A lot of them weren’t buried in marked graves, but we laid a wreath on behalf of the school, and the people of the town where their names were engraved.
“Ahead of the centenary it makes it even more significant that we could come and pay our respects.”