Diss children meet long lost relatives from Battle of the Somme

Schoolchildren met long lost relatives for the first time when they visited First World War battlefields in northern France and Belgium for a school trip.

Six students among the 38-strong party from Diss High School discovered the graves of great-great grandparents during the two day trip to fields where the Battle of the Somme took place between 1914 and 1916.

For 13-year-old Molly Leeder, from Diss, the visit was a chance to see the memorial to her great-grandfather George Leeder at Thiepval, where he died aged just 25 while serving as a private in the British Army.

Mr Leeder originally served in the Norfolk regiment, but was transferred to the Essex regiment after his original regiment was wiped out.

He was raised in Denmark Street, Diss and had a brother and sister. This Sunday will be the 95th anniversary of his death.

She placed a wooden cross at her great-great grandfather's grave, alongside one from her school.

During the trip, the children visited the battlefields and four First World War museums, including a trip to the Menin Gate Memorial in Belgium.

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While at the Menin Gate at Ypres they watched six buglers from the local volunteer fire brigade step into the roadway under the memorial arch to play the Last Post and Reveille.

The group then visited Thiepval on November 4, where the Battle of Thiepval Ridge took place to force the Germans off the high ground at the ridge including the fortified Stuff, Zollern and Schwaben Redoubts.

Molly's grandfather Gerald Leeder said: 'We found out from the War Graves Commission where the memorial to George was, but we had never been able to get out there to visit it so when Molly went on her school history trip we found out exactly where she needed to go so she could leave the cross.'

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