School pupils and staff have visited the graves of relatives of Keighley people who lost their lives in the First World War.

A group of 37 students and five staff from Holy Family Catholic School, in Keighley, toured battlefields and cemeteries in Belgium and northern France.

They had previously asked Keighley district residents to contact them if they had family members buried or commemorated in the area’s wartime cemeteries.

The school party located and visited the graves and memorials to offer prayers on their behalf.

In Ypres the group took part in the Menin Gate memorial ceremony, where George Hainsworth, 13, of Cross Hills, delivered a commemorative reading.

His fellow year nine pupils, David Meyrick and Amy Knowles, laid a wreath.

The Menin Gate monument features the names of thousands of soldiers who have no known grave.

David, 14, of Utley, himself has a great uncle who went missing during the war and whose name is inscribed on a stone memorial panel.

He said visiting the vast wartime cemeteries was a sobering experience.

“That amount of gravestones was a bit scary — I wasn’t expecting it,” he said.

“It’s the first time I’ve been on a trip like this.”

George said: “You don’t really get the full picture unless you visit these places.

“It was overwhelming to see so many gravestones.”

He and his classmates visited the grave of John Condon, a soldier from Ireland who was believed to be the youngest Allied soldier to die in the war — at the age of 14.

They said some of the bleakest sights included trenches and craters used as makeshift mass graves and uncensored photos of horrific war wounds. They also saw the Lochnagar crater — the site of a massive mine explosion — restored trench fortifications and the Langemark German war cemetery.

Tour leader Emma McConaghy said this last place was designed to teach the pupils that both sides suffered tremendous losses.

She added that the students showed an impressive degree of solemnity and respect during the time they spent at the cemeteries.

She also paid tribute to teacher and learning manager Pete Booth, who ensured the group could find and identify those graves with connections to Keighley.