COV SOL­DIER WHO DIED ON LAST DAY OF WAR

Coventry Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - > DAVID OTTEWELL

THIS is the tragic story of a Coven­try sol­dier who died on the very last day of the Great War.

Af­ter four long years of con­flict, a treaty was signed on Novem­ber 11, 1918, mark­ing the end of the war.

But it wasn’t to be a day of com­plete joy, as 910 Al­lied sol­diers died that day - in­clud­ing one from Coven­try.

Ac­cord­ing to the records of the Com­mon­wealth War Graves Com­mis­sion (CWGC), Pri­vate Ho­race McKnight died on Armistice Day.

On this day, the treaty signed in Paris brought an end to fight­ing on land, sea and air, four years, three months and one week af­ter the con­flict be­gan.

Yet - in a bru­tal de­mon­stra­tion of the sheer scale of the killing dur­ing the Great War - a to­tal of 910 Al­lied sol­diers per­ished on Novem­ber 11 be­fore peace was de­clared at 11am.

Pri­vate McKnight, like many of th­ese, did not die in bat­tle. Many had al­ready been shipped back home, only to suc­cumb to their wounds. Oth­ers had fallen to the deadly Span­ish Flu that was sweep­ing the de­pleted con­ti­nent.

He was just 20-years-old when he died.

Not much is known about his life. He was born in Day’s Lane in Coven­try, where his par­ents John and An­nie - con­tin­ued to live.

He had joined the Seaforth High­landers. His bat­tal­ion had been tak­ing part on the Fi­nal Ad­vance on Pi­cardy and ended the war some­where near Cam­brai.

Pri­vate McKnight died there, of wounds. He was buried in France, at the Eta­ples Mil­i­tary Ceme­tery.

His brother, Leonard McKnight, had been killed in ac­tion two and a half years ear­lier in Me­sopotamia.

In all, nearly 16 mil­lion peo­ple across the world died dur­ing WW1. The CWGC holds records of more than one mil­lion deaths among the Al­lied forces alone.

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