A SECOND World War hero who was shot in the back at Dunkirk, led a troop of men at the Normandy landings and later liberated a concentration camp at the end of the war faced another stern test - when he was called on to inspire students at Coln House School.

Lord Neville Wigram MC, a hereditary peer who lives in Fairford, survived a scrape with death in 1940 during the Dunkirk evacuation when he took a bullet in the back. He survived and was none the wiser until he later found the bullet embedded in his soap dish, carried in his backpack.

It was this tale and countless others that prompted Coln House history teacher Sean Fenton to invite Lord Wigram to inspire some of the school's challenging students.

Coln House is a residential school for children with emotional, behavioural or learning difficulties.

Mr Fenton explained: "With the nature of our pupils I thought it would be important for their school development to get people like Lord Wigram to talk about World War Two.

"They have no concept about what these kind of gentlemen went through for our sake."

At the evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940 Lord Wigram MC, was a major with the Grenadier Guards, and was evacuated from the beaches together with 330,000 other Allied soldiers to escape the advancing German army. The nine-day evacuation from May 26 to June 4 was performed from the beach at Dunkirk using a hastily assembled fleet of 860 ships, a mixture of civilian vessels such as merchant marine boats, fishing boats, pleasure craft and RNLI lifeboats. They transported the troops to a fleet of destroyers waiting out at sea.

Lord Wigram, now 92, recalled: "There was absolute chaos on the beach and a lot of the destroyers had been sunk. While we were there we were shot at from the Germans airplanes but it was amazing how few casualties there were."

Lord Wigram returned to action in 1944 as part of the Normandy landings before advancing across Europe.

In April 1945, shortly before the end of the war he helped to liberate a concentration camp at Sand Bostel, near Bremen, Germany.

He added: "This was a very small camp and it was occupied with prisoners of war and civilians. The civilians were mostly Frenchmen who had been deported from France and they were dying of typhus.