REPRESENTATIVES from Colchester Royal Grammar School laid a plaque commemorating former students and staff who died during the First World War at a chapel in Belgium.

The dedication ceremony was conducted by the Rev Stephen Murray at St George’s Memorial Church, in Ypres, which holds similar plaques from British Army regiments and other schools.

A total of 78 students and teachers took part in the dedication, the same number former pupils and teachers who died in combat. Members of alumni group, the Old Colcestrian Society, also attended.

During the ceremony, Year 9 student Joshua Bowden laid a poppy wreath and Connor Nainthy, also Year 9, read a poem by Edgell Rickword, a former Colchester Royal Grammar School student who won a Military Cross in the war.

Teacher Ian Sydenham then led the congregation in renditions of traditional wartime songs Pack Up Your Troubles and Keep the Home Fires Burning.

Old Colcestrian Society chairman Colonel Richard Kemp told the stories of the 78 who died, including four on the first day of the Battle of the Somme in 1916.