HISTORY expert Tom Strickland has combined his thirst for knowledge about the First World War with his love of teaching to create a book that does far more than just tell the story of battlefields.

Mr Strickland, 41, who is head of history and the faculty of humanities at Devizes School, has written Following In The Footsteps Of Heroes.

It is a guidebook to Ypres and the Somme and not only tells the history but puts the conflict into context with many personal stories of people connected with Devizes.

It will be launched with an illustrated talk by Mr Strickland at Devizes Books on February 28 at 7.30pm.

He has been taking groups of adults and students to the WW1 battlefields for more than 20 years and used the copious notes he has made over the years to create the book.

He said: “I think it’s really important to include lots of personal stories, the ones normally reserved for the professional guides.

“It’s less about the big picture of brigades and armies and more about what happened on the ground and how you can link the stories to what you can still see.

“I’ve always had a passion for history and the military. I also joined the Territorial Army and was sent to Sandhurst to be commissioned as an officer.

“It was in my teaching role that I started taking students to WW1 Battlefields so that they could gain a better understanding of the conflict.

“The book is essentially a written and pictorial form of the tour I give Many of the current books are out of date in that they were written for people that had experienced the world wars. This is a modern approach, relevant to the next generation.

“I’ve included GPS locations of the sites and places to visit which makes life so much easier with today’s smart phones and tablets.

“There are lots of personal stories so people can get a real feel for what was happening.”

Tickets for the talk are available from Devizes Books priced at £4.