Brentwood boy finds relative’s war grave on school trip

A school history trip to Ypres and the Somme was extra special for a Brentwood boy who became the first member of his family to find their relative’s war grave.

James Hinchcliffe, 14, was among pupils from St Martin’s School, Hanging Hill Lane, Hutton, who visited the World War One sites on a school trip.

Thanks to a programme on their tour guide’s phone, James located the Ypres grave of his great-great uncle, Pte John Norris Wood, of the South Wales Borderers who died, age 30, on August 21, 1916.

Pte Wood was one of more than a million British and Commonwealth troops killed in The Great War, which was characterised by drawn-out conflict in trenches.

Ypres was the site of several of the most costly battles.

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The rest of James’ family had known about the grave of their heroic ancestor, but his grandmother Betty Manders had been unable to locate it.

James said: “She’d been out there a couple of times, but she hadn’t been able to find it. When I told her she was so pleased she almost cried. The rest of the family were so pleased for my nan too.”

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James said the find was made more poignant with it coming in the run-up to Remembrance Day.

“It felt good to know that someone related to me fought for our freedom,” he said.

“I’ve always had an interest in history this has just made it a bit more special.”

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