STUDENTS from High Wycombe have been gaining a deeper insight into the importance of Remembrance Day by going one step further in marking it.

A group of history pupils from John Hampden Grammar School, Marlow Hill, took a four day trip to Europe to visit the battlegrounds and cemeteries of World War One.

The trip to Europe has been run by the school since 2002 and has become so popular amongst students that this year two groups were taken.

Two coach loads of 69 boys spent four days in France and Belgium with their history teachers Simon Emm and Andrew Weekes. The students, aged 14 and 15, laid a wreath on behalf of the school at the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium. Some were even able to find the graves of their relatives who had fought in the war.

Mr Emm, 36, who has been teaching at the school since 1997, said: "The impact on the boys is just phenomenal. I get a lot of boys saying I'm coming back here'.

"The first cemetery we go to is a French cemetery where there are 40,000 people buried, and the impact that has on them. You get on the coach at 4.30am and the atmosphere is quite bouncy because we're on a school trip and it's all quite exciting. They get off the coach at this cemetery and it hits them."

The boys also tested out their foreign language skills and got the chance to write poems about war, some of which were read out at the school's remembrance service.

Mr Emm added: "It has a very deep significance for them. In the past they'd have had similar remembrance assemblies, but when they think about their memories and see the photos of their trip, it certainly has a much bigger impact on them."