STUDENTS from Clarendon Academy paid a moving visit to the Menin Gate Memorial in Belgium where they discovered the grave of a former Wiltshire Times employee.

Having read a book by local war historian Richard Broadhead, Phoebe Goulding and Sophie Frisby found that William George Jones, who had spent part of his career working for the newspaper, had then left to fight in the First World War as a fusilier.

He died during the battle on March, 9 in 1918 aged 31 and was buried at Tyne Cot in Ypres Salient.

Their trip to Belgium was part of a nationwide programme, funded by the Department for Education and the Department for Communities and Local Government, and Clarendon was the only school in Wiltshire to take part.

They were joined by MP for South West Wiltshire Andrew Murrison and more than 100 other students and teachers on The First World War Centenary Battlefield Tours Programme, run by UCL Institute of Education and Equity, school tour provider.

The four day trip began at the Dover Education Centre where they did research on Mr Jones before travelling from the North of France to Menin Gate, doing some sightseeing along the way.

They also attended the Last Post Ceremony at the war memorial which takes place every night where locals and visitors gather to pay their respects.

Harriet Clarkson, assistant principal at Clarendon, said: “We were very excited and privileged to be invited to go on the visit and we found it extremely moving to see row after row of headstones, particularly of those who have not been identified.

“We found it important to commemorate those who had died and the sacrifices they had made and we were pleased to find someone had come from Trowbridge.

“We are also looking forward to carrying out further research in order to leave a legacy so that the war and its impact won't be forgotten."

Mr Murrison, who is also the Prime Minister's Special Representative for the Commemoration of the Centenary of the First World War, added: “The tour was a great success and it was very pleasing given that Clarendon Academy was part of it.

“The most moving part was at Tyne Cot where William Jones is buried, given his connection with Trowbridge.

“It was clear from my observation that the visit had a powerful and positive impact on the students and their teachers, and I came away with a strong sense that the programme is succeeding.”