Ilkeston teen helps excavate war relics

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An Ilkeston teenager is among a group of students excavating World War One relics in Slovenia during events to mark 100 years since the outbreak of the conflict.

Walter Mercer-Holland, 18, a student at Billborough College in Nottingham, is part of a team clearing a path once used by World War One soldiers travelling from Slovenia to Italy. They will also excavate a World War One bunker in the town of Kobarid.

Kobarid was the site of the battle of Caporetto in 1917 - where Austro-Hungarian forces, reinforced by German units, broke into the Italian frontline to rout the Italian army.

The students will also be hiking up to 100 miles through the Julian Alps. Each student had to raise almost £2,000 to fund their place on the trip.

Before leaving, Walter said: “When the opportunity came up to go on the trip I just thought it was something I would love to do. I managed to raise the money through working and a grant from Derbyshire County Council.

“When we return, my friend and I are planning on visiting schools to talk about our experiences. I think it’s very fitting that we are helping excavate World War One relics during the anniversary.

“We have got to keep the memories alive for future generations.”