The hand-written wills of 230,000 soldiers who fought for the British Empire have been placed on a new website where their descendants can view them for the first time. Many of the wills are accompanied by deeply personal letters penned by the doomed soldiers and intended for loved ones back home that were never posted.

In one such letter, written on August 10, 1914, Private Joseph Witchburn of 2nd Battalion The Durham Light Infantry tells his mother: 'I dare say this will be the last letter you will receive from me until the war is over, as I am prepared to move to the front at any moment.'

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