A summer holiday in the Somme turned into a poignant history lesson for a Bedford Modern School pupil.
Harry Cargill, 9, returned from his holiday in France having discovered the grave of an Old Bedford Modernian who was killed in battle during the First World War.
Harry, a year 5 pupil, said: “I visited my grandparents in the Somme Valley and we walked on the many fields that soldiers had fought on. It was amazing to find shrapnel and shell fragments.
“My grandfather and I visited the Hem Farm Military Cemetery, Hem-Monacu, where I got a special surprise when I discovered that someone called F.J. Hawkes, who used to go to Bedford Modern School, was buried there.
“I planted a cross of remembrance on Private Hawkes’ grave and left a message in the visitors’ book saying that I go to Bedford Modern School too and that I had found the grave of someone who had been in the same place as me all those years ago.”
Private F.J. Hawkes was with the First Regiment, South African Infantry and died on March 24, 1918, aged 40.
Richard Wildman, Bedford Modern School archivist, said: “Over 166 OBMs died in the First World War. Their names were inscribed on stone panels in the Memorial Hall of the old School in Harpur Street, behind the Blore Tower, which was inaugurated in 1923.
“The panels were brought to Manton Lane when the school moved in 1974.
“Harry Cargill is to be commended for finding Private Hawkes’s grave in France, and for recording that he attends the same school, over 120 years later.”