A hundred members of Nottinghamshire Army Cadet Force travelled around the battlefields of Northern France to learn about life in the trenches.
The expedition was part of a national drive to mark 100 years since the armistice.
In the build up to the visit, the cadets had been researching their relatives who fought, and in some cases gave their lives, during the First World War.
During the research, one cadet, Lucie Gillmore from Ruddington, discovered a heroic deed of her Great Great Grandfather Private Ernest Meads.
Ernest was sent to the Western Front along with other Members of 6th (Service) Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment, part 54th Brigade of the 18th Division.
On 21st September 1918, Ernest found himself with only one round remaining for his Lee-Enfield Rifle after advancing with members of his company towards German trenches.
In the final stages of the advance, Ernest jumped into a trench occupied by German soldiers who were so shocked by his bold move they surrendered immediately.
His bravery was recognised by Major General Sir William Heneker who authorised the award of the Mention In Dispatches for his “Gallant conduct and devotion to duty in the field”.
Another Cadet, Sergeant Joshua Turner of Worksop Detachment, learned about his Great Great Grandfather Leonard Benn of 24th Battalion Royal Fusiliers.
Leonard was awarded the Military Medal when he crawled through no man’s land while under fire to rescue a wounded Lieutenant.
He was wounded in battle later that year and eventually succumbed to his wounds and died on 29th October 1918, barely two weeks before the Armistice.
The tour culminated in a parade at the Thiepval Memorial to the missing. The memorial commemorates more than 72,000 men of British and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave, the majority of whom died during the Somme offensive of 1916.
The 100 cadets from Nottinghamshire we joined on parade by 1,000 other cadets from around the country to honour the fallen.
Sixteen-year-old Lance Corporal Tom Ledger from West Bridgford Detachment said of the experience: “Looking at the rows and rows of headstones and the wall of names at Thiepval was haunting.
“My Great Grandfather Harold Witte was 15 years old when the war started. He lied about his age to enlist; I can’t imagine anyone of my generation doing that. They were so brave.
“For me, it was important to learn about his role in the war and it was humbling to be able to wear his medals on parade.”
Lieutenant Richard Etherington, spokesman for Nottinghamshire ACF, said: “Not only was it important to take the cadets to the monuments, battlefields and cemeteries to enable them to learn about the war we felt that they should gain an understanding of the human aspect of the conflict.
“Encouraging them to undertake the family research really gave the cadets a deeper understanding and personal connection to the war.
“Many of the cadets started out knowing only their ancestors’ names but with support some were able to learn about their regiments and ships. Others found out about the specific deeds of individual soldiers and sailors using online resources.”