The history department of a Surbiton school has started a research project to find out about 40 of its former students who fought in the First World War.

To mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War next year, Shrewsbury House School hopes to trace the families and stories of all the boys listed on a memorial at its grounds in Ditton Road.

So far, the project has found John Callender, who lived in Maple Road, Surbiton, when he came to Shrewsbury High School before he moved on to Magadalen School, Oxford, in 1905.

He died fighting with his regiment, the 4th Battalion, the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, on August 21, 1917, aged 21.

Former student and soldier James Gilkison from Wimbledon was also killed in the first few weeks of the war, fighting with the 2nd Battalion, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, with an older brother.

Sean Smart, head of history at the school, said: “Even with all the modern tools at our disposal – the internet, a well-resourced library and our experienced History staff – this is still quite a challenge.

"It is a bigger task than we thought.

"I walk past the memorial every day and it was coming up to the anniversary, so I thought it would be interesting to find out who these people really were.

"We all feel that these former boys deserve to be remembered and honoured."

The current schoolboys are working on the project once every two weeks and finding good leads.

Anyone with further information about former Shrewsbury House School students who served in the war or their families can call the school on 020 8399 3066.