The last wishes of thousands of soldiers who died during the First World War and were unseen for a century are being made available online. The wills of 230,000 British Empire soldiers have been placed on a new website for the first time.
The digital cache of WW1 wills and letters give genealogists and historians a fleeting glimpse into the minds of soldiers on the brink of warfare.
Most of the documents are brief and businesslike, written on purpose-printed cards that were handed out to soldiers in the days before they were deployed.
One such will, by George Peachment, reads simply: "In the event of my death I give the whole of my property and effects to my mother".
Some of the soldiers included personal letters, one of which reads: "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."
An anonymous government official later recorded that the writer,Pte Joseph Witchburn of 2nd Battalion The Durham Light Infantry, died of his wounds on 14 September 1914.
Archivists at specialist record management company Iron Mountain spent five months first indexing and then painstakingly scanning by hand First World War soldiers' wills so they could be put onto a computer and then online.
The work was undertaken under contract from Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS), which is responsible for the records.
The wills are held in a secure facility run by the company on the outskirts of Birmingham, while the digital copies are stored in a data centre in Milton Keynes.
In total, the facility houses 41 million wills and probate records dating from 1858.