Tragedy of city soldier who died on day peace treaty was signed
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 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
20-years-old 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.