THIS evening, like every evening, a line of buglers will quietly assemble to sound the Last Post beneath the Menin Gate at Ypres in Belgium.

They perform the honour in memory of the hundreds of thousands who lost their lives there in the First World War, many of them British.

The ceremony has taken place since 1928, in torrential rain and bright sunshine, in front of two people or 200.

On Sunday, the buglers were joined by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prime Minister Theresa May and relatives of those who fought and died nearby as part of two days of events to mark the start of the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

The Menin Gate is inscribed with the names of more than 54,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers killed nearby whose graves are not known – 40,537 were members of Britain’s Armed Forces.

Events in Belgium this weekend are just a small part of a comprehensive programme being held to mark the centenary of the First World War.

They include not only formal ceremonies attended by dignitaries but also initiatives to engage ordinary people, particularly the younger generation, with acts of remembrance.

As part of the programme, two students from Royal Wootton Bassett Academy, accompanied by a teacher and a serving member of the British Army, recently embarked on a tour of the battlefields of France and Belgium which included a visit to the Menin Gate to take part in the same Last Post ceremony that took centre stage this weekend.

Ella Peters, 17, and her classmate Holly Gibbs, 16, were so inspired by what they saw and experienced during the trip that upon their return they decided to do more to further the impact.

At a special assembly held earlier this month they spoke to teachers, pupils and members of the local community about the importance of learning about and reflecting on the events of the First World War.

Dressed in their uniforms - Ella is an air cadet and Holly a cadet with Wiltshire Police - they introduced guest speakers and recounted the stories of how they had found the names of their own relatives on memorials near to where they died.

The girls’ history teacher, Dan Webb, paid tribute to their efforts and the way they have embraced the goals of the project.

“They are both passionate and have showed real enthusiasm,” he said.

Today, we have invited Holly and Ella to share their experiences with the Adver’s readers as they explore what remembrance means for them as young people and why they feel it is so important.

Ella Peters, 17, Royal Wootton Bassett Academy:

"This experience has shown me how many people are invested and contribute to the idea of remembrance. Whether that be the enthusiastic students from the centenary battlefields trip and extremely knowledgeable tour guides, or members of the local community such as local historian Sheridan Parsons and the Town Clerk Johnathan Bourne.

"People dedicate their time and efforts to get involved, research people's stories and share the memories of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

"It reminds me that we all have an important part to play in ensuring we continue to remember those who serve and die to protect our country and communities.

"I believe that remembrance is important due to the fact that many people lost their lives.

"Many in the First World War went without a choice and more went without the knowledge of what they were getting themselves into. 

"However, often forgotten are the lives of those left behind, who had to pick up the pieces after their families had been torn apart by the fighting.

"In some cases whole communities were wiped out. Given that local communities took charge initially, who remembers the lost communities? 

"Given that there are no longer any serving members of the First World War left to continue their legacy, someone has to pick up the mantle and carry the torch of remembrance into the next century and I really feel as though that should be the youth who does this.

"Finally, as important as the World Wars undoubtedly were, it is important that all serving soldiers from all conflicts are remembered for doing their duty."

Holly Gibbs, 16, Royal Wootton Bassett Academy:

"This experience taught me just how important remembrance is, not just 100 years on, but all the time as the men who fought gave the biggest sacrifice they could give, their life.

"The experience also taught me about the unknown positives which World War One gave us, these include the medical advances such as prosthetics. 

"Among other things, I also learnt about physical aspects. We saw the part of the Somme Battlefield the Newfoundlanders fought over; and where the bombs had hit the ground, which only solidified the chilling memories of war as the ground is still disturbed, a harrowing reminded of the destruction these weapons had. 

"This whole experience taught me so much about the pain soldiers went through and I would encourage anyone who gets the opportunity to go and see these places.                               

"Remembrance is so important, especially in this day and age as there is so much conflict in the world.

"It is important because any solider who has died in any war has given the biggest sacrifice in order to save their loved ones and country, their life.

"There is nothing more they could do so, for me, remembrance is so important as the soldiers fighting have given everything to protect me and allow me to live freely in the United Kingdom."