The heartbreaking stories of 11 Commonwealth soldiers who died on the very last day of the First World War are unveiled complete with colored images and moving letters home.
The last of the fallen was a soldier who was hit by a German machine gun that died only three minutes before the guns stopped at 11 am on November 11, 1918, a century ago on Sunday.
Some men had survived Gallipoli and Passchendaele to die of pneumonia at the last hurdle, while another victim was a 20-year fatal injury from a machine gun in a final German attack.
The men were scattered all over the world when they died, with someone killed by a Bolshevik attack in Russia and another who succumbed to malaria in what is now Israel. The stories contain poignant letters from time, such as a recruit told his parents that the news is very good & # 39; for an impending peace before it was killed by a shell.
Researchers from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission who have discovered the soldiers' stories believe that 860 British and imperial troops died on 11 November 1918, just a few hours before the end of the war.
Dr. Glyn Prysor, chief historian of the committee, said: "It is a gripping statistic, but every name that is carved on our tombstones and memorials represents not only a death but also a life. There were families and communities around the world that would never be the same.
This Remembrance Sunday is an opportunity to reflect on all those who died on the long road to peace and who they left behind. We have honored them for more than a hundred years and the end of the centenary of the First World War is a new milestone in our work that continues today, tomorrow and always. & # 39;
Survivor of Gallipoli and Passchendaele felled by pneumonia: Sergeant Francis Coulam, Auckland Infantry Regiment, 27 years old
Survivor of Gallipoli and Passendale: Francis Coulam received the Military Medal for his service
Francis Coulam was born in New Zealand and was the son of a sailmaker, had more than a dozen siblings and worked for the war as a warehouse manager in Auckland.
He reported in February 1915 at the age of 23 and was shipped to Egypt as part of the reinforcements for the efforts of the British Empire to conquer the Gallipoli peninsula, in an effort to break the impasse in Europe.
As a member of the 1st battalion of the infantry regiment of Auckland, he has endured the sweltering heat of the Turkish peninsula and the constant dangers of sniping, shelling and disease.
During the campaign he had to be evacuated to Egypt for hospital treatment for enteritis and inflammation of the intestines caused by the unhygienic conditions on the peninsula.
He returned to his unit in July 1916, which at that time moved to Armentieres, in France, where he was wounded in action and promoted to Lance Corporal.
Francis saw action during the Third Battle of Ypres, also known as Passendale. On October 4, the New Zealand division attacked the Bellevue Spur and suffered horrible casualties, the highest death toll in New Zealand's history.
He received the Military Medal for his part in the fight, with the quote saying: "For striking prowess in the field …" [he] treated the men under his command in a very capable manner and participated in many fierce battles, he himself was responsible for a large number of the enemy with the bayonet.
& # 39; He was cool and lively and had nothing to hinder the advance of his platoon to the goal. & # 39;
Francis was eventually sent back to New Zealand in the spring of 1918 and fired in July, but on the last day of the war he died of complications of flu and pneumonia, 27 years old.
He is buried at the Auckland Waikumete Cemetery in Auckland.
Military Cross hero killed in a German last stand: Ralph Piggot Whittington-Ince, 11th Battalion, East Yorkshire Regiment, 20 years old
Military Cross hero killed in a German last stand: Ralph Piggot Whittington-Ince
Ralph Piggott Whittington-Ince was the son of a vicar, born in March 1898 in Milan and educated in Shropshire before passing Sandhurst.
He was hired by the East Yorkshire Regiment in April 1916 and arrived on February 1, 1917 for the battle in France.
In November of that year he took part in an attack on the western front for which he was posthumously awarded the Military Cross.
The quote reads: & # 39; For striking prowess and sense of duty during a daylight attack. He led his platoon close behind the barrage and penetrated the enemy's support line for 350 meters.
He quickly brought fire to the fleeing enemy, drove them into our artillery barrage, and when the rest refused to get out of their dug out wells, he let them all blow up. He treated his platoon with great skill, both during the advance and the withdrawal. & # 39;
On the early evening of 10 November 1918, the Germans created a final stand for the village of Flobecq in Belgium.
Ralph, who was then in charge of C Company, was severely wounded by machine gun and died the next day from his wounds.
His colonel paid tribute and said: "He has done an excellent job with the battalion. I can not tell you how much we are all feeling dead; he served so long in the battalion and was loved by all ranks. & # 39;
He is commemorated on the military cemetery of Vichte in Belgium.
Australian soldier who died in the desert: Trooper Lyle Jocelyn Chase, 6th Australian Light Horse Regiment, 40 years old
Australian trooper who died in the desert: Lyle Jocelyn Chase, who joined his brother in 1917
Lyle Jocelyn Chase grew up in a sheep farm in New South Wales, Australia, before joining his brother William in July 1917.
As farmers, both brothers declared a preference for service at the Australian Light Horse and after several months of training in Sydney they were sent abroad.
They left for the Middle East in March 1918 and took a boat to Palestine, where they both came with measles and needed a hospital treatment.
Once on land, Lyle joined the 6th Australian Light Horse Regiment near Wadi Al-Auja, north of Jericho.
British and imperial forces in Palestine went offensive in September, and Lyle and William took part in the Allied victory at the Battle of Megiddo.
William was wounded and evacuated back to the hospital in Gaza, while Lyle continued the advance to Damascus.
Ottoman troops agreed to an armistice in October 1918, but the Light Horse stayed in the desert, trained and carried out their daily tasks.
While Lyle fell ill there on November 2, nine days later, he died of malaria and pneumonia on Armistice Day.
He is buried at the Ramleh War Cemetery in what is now Israel. William Chase survived to return to his wife and farm in Marrickville, New South Wales.
Garrison soldier beaten by Spanish flu in Bulgaria: soldier Ernest Shaw, 2nd Garr. Bn The King & # 39; s (Liverpool Regiment) 90570, 34 years old
Garrison soldier beaten by Spanish flu in Bulgaria: soldier Ernest Shaw
Ernest was born in 1883 in Chorley, Lancashire, for cotton weaver James and Mary Shaw and was the second youngest of four children.
After his training he worked as a bottler at a local mineral water producer. In August 1911 he married Ellen Green and they had a son, Thomas, born in 1913.
During the war he served with the 3rd (Home Service) Garrison Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment.
These were units that often consisted of older men, perhaps in a less good condition, that were unsuitable for frontline, but could guard military bases and strategic locations.
Ernest was then transferred to the 2nd Garrison Battalion, King's (Liverpool Regiment), part of the British Salonika Force, which served on the Macedonia Front in Northern Greece, fighting against the Bulgarians.
He spent time in and out of the front lines around the Doiran lake and after a major allied offensive in September 1918, Bulgaria became the first of the central powers to sign a cease-fire.
Just as the fighting came to an end, the flu hit the British Salonika Force. In four months, more than two thousand of them had died of disease, many of whom had already been weakened by malaria that plagued the people in Salonika during the war.
Ernest was one of those who succumbed to the "Spanish flu", and died on November 11, 1918. The flu would further destroy the war-torn nations in the months after the end of the war.
Shaw is buried at the military cemetery Kirechkoi-Hortakoi in Greece. Inscribed on his tombstone are the words: "Laid back to rest in a distant land to commemorate, once dear."
Welsh Guard who married a few weeks before the truce: Lance Serjeant Frank Trott, 2 / Welsh Guards, 31 years
Welsh Guard, who just weeks before the truce married: Lance Serjeant
Frank Trott was born in Bristol and grew up on a farm in Butcombe, Somerset before moving to Pontypridd in South Wales.
Before the war, he worked as a layer for a railway company and then served with the Glamorgan police in Porthcawl.
In April 1915 he resigned – like many other South Wales police officers – to join the newly formed Welsh Guards.
Frank saw action in the Battle of Loos in the autumn of 1915 and continued to serve on the western front until the Welsh Guards joined the Battle of Somme in September 1916 and entered the newly conquered village of Ginchy.
Frank was wounded in the coffin and helped defend the village against a German counterattack, and was treated in Rouen before being evacuated to Great Britain on September 16th.
After his rehabilitation, Frank was posted in the 2nd (Reserve) Battalion, of the Welsh Guards, based in Surrey, to train new recruits. After he landed in the reserve in June 1918, Frank returned to Porthcawl and rejoined the police.
On October 21, 1918, Frank married Annie David in St. John's Church, Newton Nottage. Yet their marriage would last less than a month after Frank succumbed to pneumonia that was complicated by the wounds he had sustained on the Somme.
He died on 11 November 1918 and was buried three days later in the cemetery of the church in which he had been married only a few weeks earlier.
Almost the whole city turned out to be a funeral, including his police officers, and many wounded and ex-servicemen. He is buried in the cemetery of Newton Nottage (St. John the Baptist).
Soldier killed by a grenade after he had told the parents of "terribly good news." Second lieutenant Noel Everard Evans, 121st Bty. 27th Bde. Royal Field Artillery, 29 years old
Soldier killed by a grenade after telling the parents of & # 39; very good news & # 39 ;: second lieutenant Noel Everard Evans
Noel Evans was born in 1898 near Wrexham. His father was Eerw. Enoch Evans, a pastor of the Church of England, and his mother Violet was the daughter of a retired Major of Dragoons, Thomas Everard Hutton, who had been present during the Crimean War in 1854 during the attack of the light brigade.
He started a degree at the Jesus College in Oxford, but left his studies to join the army and in July 1918 became a temporary second lieutenant at the Royal Field Artillery.
His brother Morgan, who received the Military Cross in early 1918 for his actions in Italy, served in the same brigade.
Noel wrote home on October 5, 1918: "Very busy so can not write much, and there is only a candle to write past when I am in the depth of the earth.
& # 39; It was pretty cozy and I went to the line of fire yesterday; they had a great day with the Boche. Morgan and I have been very successful in missing each other since we met for the first time.
& # 39; His battery is currently next to ours. I think the news is very good: Bulgaria and Turkey have given it: we will not last long! & # 39;
However, he did not live to see the peace, because on November 4, just a week before the armistice, Noel was seriously injured by a grenade in a German barrage.
Noel was evacuated back to the hospital in Rouen, where the end of the hostilities meant that his parents could cross the Channel to visit him in the hospital, but he died on November 11.
In a letter dated November 15, his father wrote: "It was the hardest week to endure my life … the tension at the last moment when we reached the hospital and the crushing words of the matron:" I'm afraid I bad news for you ".
& # 39; We were late. He had died early on Monday morning in the early hours, strange to say about the time that the armistice was signed! & # 39;
Upon their return home, the Evans family received a letter from Noel's commanding officer explaining exactly how Noel had been injured. It is fully published at the bottom of the article.
Australian who applied as soon as he turned 18: driver Richard Robert Moxham, Australian Army Service Corps, 20 years old
Australian who applied as soon as he turned 18: driver Richard Robert Moxham
Richard Moxham was born in Guildford, New South Wales, in 1898. Before the war he worked as a blacksmith for apprentices and he lived in Granville, on the outskirts of Sydney.
When he was only 18, he married Alma Alexandra Moyle and then joined the army. He was so young that his parents had to give their permission, what they did.
To sign in to fight, he was seconded overseas to the Australian Army Service Corps (AASC), arriving in Devonport, Plymouth, on Boxing Day 1917.
After months of training at Salisbury Plain, Richard was finally drawn to France in September 1918 and on October 3 he took part in a divisional train just west of the city of Peronne.
The division trains took care of transport, usually horse-drawn carts and wagons, including supply columns that took all the ammunition and supplies needed for a division from base depots to supply spots.
On October 29, Richard reported ill and was admitted to the 12th Australian Field Ambulance who was suffering from influenza.
On November 5 he was in a hospital in Rouen and his condition had become critical. On the last day of the war, he died of broncho pneumonia at the age of 20. He is buried in Rouen.
Scottish soldier killed in a Bolshevik ambush in Russia: Corporal John Livingston, 2 / 10th Royal Scots, 23 years old
Scottish soldier killed in a Bolshevik ambush in Russia: Corporal John Livingston
John Livingston, born in 1895 in Glasgow, was the eldest son of George Livingston, a pit firefighter at Dalmeny Crude Oil Company, and Jane Livingston of 5 Railway Cottages, Dalmeny.
He worked at a crude oil company before turning to the 1st / 10th Royal Scots (Lewis Gun Section) as a soldier in May 1914, three months before the war broke out.
Arriving in France, he was posted on the 2nd Royal Scots and in April 1917 had earned a promotion to Lance Corporal.
His time on the western front was shortened when, in September 1917, he sustained a serious gunshot wound on his left thigh and forced him to return to England, where he was declared unfit for the front line.
Instead, he was posted on the 2 / 10th Royal Scots, with whom he went to Russia, where allied troops intervened in the civil war of the country and supported anti-communist forces against Lenin's Bolsheviks.
He was promoted to Corporal in September 1918 but was killed in action on November 11, during a Bolshevik attack on his bunker at Troitsa, 200 miles south of Archangel on the River Dina.
He has no known grave and is commemorated at the CWGC Archangel monument in Russia.
Former bartender who served from the beginning of the war: soldier George Edwin Ellison, 5th (royal Irish) lanciers, 40 years old
Former barman who served from the beginning of the war: soldier George Edwin Ellison
George Ellison worked as a bartender in a pub in Hartlepool as a youngster, but he joined the army in 1903 and served with the 5th (Royal Irish) Lancers.
The lancers were among the first to arrive in France when the war was declared in 1914, and saw action south-east of Mons before the end of August.
George arrived shortly thereafter in France after being summoned from the reservations, and was sent to strengthen his unity.
The 5th lancers suffered their first major victims in late October and early November near Ypres and were again in action during the Second Battle of Ypres in April and May 1915.
With the beginning of the trench warfare, the cavalry was forced to disengage and serve as infantry, often carrying out security service behind the lines and as a reserve for the infantry.
After surviving some of the earliest battles, George went on serving the entire war and was still on the battlefield on November 8, in the days before the Armistice.
Cavalry was reclaimed in the more mobile warfare at the end of the war, and squadrons of the 5 / Lancers were attached to the Canadian Corps to act as scouts for their advance to Belgium.
On the morning of November 11, the Lancers were ordered to go through Bergen and across the canal to secure high ground around St. Denis.
Around 9.30 they crossed the canal when George was hit by German fire and was killed. He is buried at the military cemetery St Symphorien, just outside Bergen.
George's older brother Frederick Thomas Ellison was a captain on a fishing ship before the war and was summoned to the Royal Naval Reserve at the outbreak of hostilities.
He served aboard HM Trawler Towhee, converted into a minesweeper, and spent much of the war on escort and patrol times in the English Channel.
On 15 June 1917 the Towhee disappeared into the English channel. Frederick and his crew are commemorated on the Portsmouth and Chatham Naval Memorials. Frederick was 40 years old and left a wife, Maud and two sons behind.
Canadian soldier who died & died # 3 minutes before eleven & # 39; on the day of the armistice: soldier George Lawrence Price, 28th Bn. Canadian Infantry, 25 years old
George Price, whose record states that he died at three o'clock before eleven o'clock on the day of the armistice
George Price grew up in Canada and worked as a farm worker before joining the army in October 1917 with Regina, Saskatchewan.
Sent to join Canadian troops in Europe, he arrived in Liverpool in February 1918. He was assigned to the 28th (Northwest) Battalion, Canadian Infantry and crossed the channel later that year.
On September 8, the battalion was in Buissy, near Vis-en-Artois, when German artillery gas and high explosive grenades fired into the trenches.
George and several others suffered gas inhalation and were taken to Etaples for treatment, but he returned to the battalion in October, ready for the final advance to the Franco-Belgian border.
On the night of November 10-11, the 28th Battalion began to use the front lines to continue the advance through the southern suburbs of Mons to the village of Havre and to the banks of the Canal du Center.
Around 9 o'clock in the morning, when they helped clear the Bois de Havre, the news came that the hostilities would cease at 11 o'clock that day.
Shortly before 11 am George Price was part of a small group that crossed the canal to explore houses across the street.
After crossing the bridge, George was hit by a bullet in the chest and died shortly thereafter. The battalion's war diary registers George's death at about 10.50 am, while his record of service is three minutes before eleven & # 39; mentions.
One of George's comrades, Arthur Goodmurphy, recounted what happened almost 50 years later:
He was originally buried at Havre's old municipal cemetery, but his grave was moved to the St. Symphorien military cemetery after the Second World War.
19-year-old sailor who died at the last attack on the Belgian village: Able Seaman Harold Edgar Walpole, Anson Battalion, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, 19 years
19-year-old sailor who died at the last attack on the Belgian village: Able Seaman Harold Edgar Walpole
Harold Walpole was born in 1899 and worked for the Kettering Co-operative Clothing Factory and was also involved with his local church, as well as whistleblower and member of the parish of the parish church.
During the war Harold and his four brothers reported to various regiments of the British army. Harold joined on September 11, 1917, two months after his 18th birthday.
He opted to become a member of the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve for service at the Royal Naval Division (RND). The RND consisted of sailors and marines who served as infantry on land.
After the first training, Harold was summoned to the Anson battalion in April 1918, which held the line north of the river Somme, near the village of Beaumont-Hamel.
In August he participated in the Allied advance that had started in Amiens and attacked the village of Thilloy. Harold was injured in the right leg and was evacuated, but rejoined his unit for the Battle of the Canal du Nord in September and fought further near Cambrai.
On 8 November the Anson battalion came to Belgium, just east of the city of Valenciennes and two days later south of Mons when they were ordered to capture Villers-Saint-Ghislain.
They attacked just after noon on November 10 and German troops fought back, but were finally defeated that night.
During the attack, the battalion suffered casualties from 64 wounded and ten killed, including Harold, who had been mortally wounded. He died the next day, at the age of 19, when the guns were silent.
He is buried at the municipal cemetery of Nouvelles in France.
To access the full list of stories in the CWGC Road to Peace campaign, visit the CWGC website at www.cwgc.org
The CWGC is very grateful to software company Shoothill, which colored the images freely for Eleven for the Eleventh with their ultra-modern technology, PhotoVamp.
& # 39; We feel like we have lost a good friend & # 39 ;: gripping letter to the parents of the fallen soldier of Noel Evans of his commander
Dear Mr Evans,
On behalf of the officers, non-commissioned officers and men of the 121st Battery, I would like to express our deep sympathy with you in the loss of your dear son who, although he had been with us for a short time, won the hearts of everyone the men. We in the mess think we have lost a good friend; he was always so cheerful, whatever the circumstances.
We had been rested for a few days and were instructed to carry ammunition to a position east of Beaudiquies (about one and a half kilometers SW of Le Quesnoy). Noel was in charge of the ammunition cars on the night of November 2, and I fear that he had had a bad time when the Hun carried a whole range of machine gun bullets and grenades over the entire area that he had to cover. This did not upset him at all, and when I saw him in the morning he was very happy and had treated it like a nice joke. On the morning of November 3, I told him, "You have to come to us tonight to defeat the guns and fight the last battle of the last war," and he did.
We had to take the position in the dark because it was very exposed, and from the moment we entered until Noel was hit, we had a very bad time. Shells and bullets with machine guns just rained on the position and before we opened the fire, we had lost, killed, and wounded several men. We would open a barrage at 5:30 am, but Noel had to do the second hour of service and stayed with me in what accommodation we had. This was a scrap in the ground about 7 & x 39; x 7 & # 39; x 2 & # 39; deep with a tarpaulin over the top.
During the first hour we had a very exciting time when the Hun dropped his barrage on the battery as soon as we opened it, and held it for about 2 hours. During this entire time he missed our little dug-out by a few centimeters; once he had reached the corner and cut the paulin into ribbons, he wounded two telephonists who were with us.
The parents of Noel Evans received a letter from his commander after he died on 11 November. He was one of the British and Commonwealth soldiers who died on the last day of the war, when the crowds gathered in London (photo) after hearing the news
At about 6.30 am Noel went on duty and stayed at the guns until 7.30 am. Shortly afterwards, at about 7.45 am I would think, I was outside the excavation and Noel walked over to me and we were talking for a few minutes; then I went back to the dug-out and was just below the paulin & # 39; when a grenade burst a few meters away.
Our cook, standing at the entrance to the dug-out, fell on top of us, shot through the neck, and I was connecting him while Noel was being brought in. He seemed to be slightly injured in the left thigh and right heel, and a small splinter was pulled from the back of his head.
His thigh seemed to worry him most, but the blow on his head had led him to be temporarily blind; this brought us to a concussion. His memory seemed a bit weakened because he seemed more concerned about me and asked several times if I had been touched. Every time I told him that I had not done that, he seemed to forget it and asked again.
The morning was very cold and even though we put blankets and coats over him, he still shivered a good deal. He seemed completely himself until the time he left us and was very cheerful. Nobody, of course, thought he had been mortally wounded and we said before we left that we were hoping to see him again soon. We were all very shocked when we heard of his death and could not realize it for a long time.
Noel was a promising soldier and only a few days before he was beaten, I had urged him to request a regular commission. He was going to do this, but he had not done it before he left us. Let me once again say how deeply we feel for all of you in your death. The knowledge that he died while doing his duty is your consolation.
Kind regards, L. Bonner.
Major L Bonner, 121st battery, RFA