A STUNNING replica of a First World War plane is the centrepiece of a Highworth exhibition documenting the First World War.

Sub Lt Rex Warneford, who was from Swindon, piloted a Morane Saulnier during the conflict and shot down a Zeppelin plane over Ghent, in Belgium, in 1915, picking up the Victoria Cross for his effort.

And the replica is at the centre of the display, at Highworth Community Centre.

The Wiltshire branch of The Western Front Association and the Highworth Historical Society is overseeing the two-week display, which began on Sunday, with a full programme of events lined up.

The impressive imitation plane was built in Ypres, Belgium, by a group of students and shipped over.

Phil Cobb, chairman of Wiltshire’s Western Front Association, said it makes a fitting focal point to the Highworth Remembers 1914-1918 commemorations.

Phil said: “Rex was the first man to bring down a Zeppelin and was awarded the Victory Cross.

“He died a few days later in France. We decided due to his local links it was fitting to pay tribute to him.

“Walking into the centre, the plane, creates a real wow factor and we think having it is an appropriate way to commemorate the First World War.”

The project began to mark the centenary of the conflict. Other artefacts on display include uniforms, medals and collectables.

Highworth Remembers 1914-1918 is open to the public with schools from the area also due to visit to take part in workshops.

The exhibition received £8,900 worth of funding through the Heritage Lottery Funding from their First World War: Then and Now campaign.

Nerys Watts, from the organisation, said: “The impact of the First World War was far reaching, touching and shaped every corner of the UK and beyond.

“The Heritage Lottery Fund has already invested more than £62 million in projects, large and small, that are marking this global centenary.

“Through our grants programmes, we are enabling even more communities like those involved in Highworth Remembers 1914-1918 to explore the legacy of this conflict and help local young people in particular to broaden their understanding of how it has shaped our modern world.”

As well as lottery funding the project received support from P&O Ferries.

To find out more about the project, call the community centre on 07748 587234 or email wfawiltshire@outl ook.com.