Pupils past and present of Devizes School have been quick to jump to its defence after it was accused on Facebook of not respecting the hour of darkness to mark the start of the First World War on Monday evening.

Lights were turned off across the country between 10pm and 11pm but a number of people took to Facebook sites to criticise the school for keeping floodlights on at a parking area.

But it turned out the lights were operated by Devizes Leisure Centre which said that as it was open until 10.15pm it had to light the car park for safety reasons.

One person said: “Truly disappointed to see that when we were all asked to turn our lights out and light a candle at 10pm to remember those who fought in the First World War, Devizes Senior School still had their sports field lights on glaring away lighting up the whole area.”

But others jumped to the school’s defence including Michelle Harfield.

She wrote on The Devizes Issue: “Would really like to see some of the people on here retract their statements about Devizes School's lack of respect at the Leisure Centre Flood Lights being left on at 10pm on Monday. A - Devizes School has always been very proactive in teaching World War History with respect and decency. B - The flood lights are owned and operated by the Leisure Centre and are used by Devizes School as they share the land and C - the Flood Lights are used to light the car park and as they Leisure Centre doesn't close until 10pm, it has to provide a safe environment for its users and staff.”