YOU could have heard a grenade pin drop as the year nine history students at Kings International College in Camberley stepped back in time to life in the trenches and the battlefields of Ypres.

David Allen, a collector of World War I militaria, kept the students on the edge of their seats as he demonstrated the finer aspects of the Lee Enfield Rifle and a variety of machine guns, mortars and other lethal weapons used in World War I.

"There is a world of difference in seeing and handling the equipment and weaponry compared to reading about it in a book. It gives the students a greater insight into the rigours and hardship suffered by the troops in the Great War," explained Mr Allen, whose great uncle served in the Middlesex Regiment and was killed in action during the Battle of Loos in 1915, the year which, Mr Allen explained, saw the introduction of the use of poison gas by both sides.