SOUTHEND pupils paid their respects at First World War battlefields.

Two pupils and a teacher from Southend High School for Boys, spent last weekend visiting Ypres, in Belgium, and the Sommes, in Northern France, taking part in the Centenary Battlefields project.

One of the pupils, Oliver De’Ath, discovered during the trip, that his great uncle had died during the war and was buried at Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, at Longueval, in Belgium.

Private William Bygraves, of the London Regiment, died on September 16, 1916, and Oliver visited his grave during the trip.

He said: “I thought it was nice to see how your own family has contributed to your country and in his case, with his life.

“I felt really honoured to be sitting next to such a genuine hero and even more honoured to be blood related to him.”