A moving exhibition of the soldiers of Calne and District who lost their lives in the First World War officially opened last week.

Calne Heritage Centre is almost unrecognisable after being transformed to resemble a war trench for the exhibition, which coincides with the release of The Great War: Calne District Soldiers, by Hilmarton author and historian Richard Broadhead.

The Marquis of Lansdowne opened the exhibition on Wednesday night in the company of the Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire, members and Mayor of Calne Town Council, the President of Calne and District Royal British Legion and residents who had lost family during the First World War.

Mr Broadhead, 45, said he was delighted with the opening night.

He said: “The place was packed out on opening night and a lot of people said it was really quite emotional.

“It really brings the whole thing to life, whereas a lot of exhibitions you go to can be staid. This is very real.”

The exhibition, which is set to be visited by over 300 school children before it closes on November 26, looks at the stories behind the names on the war memorials in Calne and surrounding villages with newspaper cuttings and photographs.

Helmets from the period and battlefield artefacts are also on display.

Lord Lansdowne, whose grandfather was killed in the first year of the war, found the exhibition moving.

He said: “It brings back horrific thoughts about every single community and family that was involved in this horrific campaign.”

The exhibition is open from 10.40am to 4pm and Mr Broadhead will give a number of evening talks.

Mr Broadhead’s book is also available from the centre for £16.99