Last week Sedgefield remembered the centenary of the death of its 42nd, and final, First World War soldier who was a victim of the Spanish flu.

“We received your Christmas card this morning,” wrote May Robinson on December 22, 1918, to her brother, Willie, who was still serving with the Machine Guns Corps on the Belgian/German border.

“I do hope you are well,” she continued in chatty style. “I arrived here on Friday night and found all not so bad.” The 25-year-old was referring to her return to the family home in Front Street, Sedgefield, to celebrate Christmas with her parents.

“Mother intended writing to tell you that she had word that Dick was worse,” she said, referring to their elder brother, Richard, 27, who was with the Royal Army Service Corps in Thessaloniki, Greece, where, after four years of fighting, he was battling against Spanish flu.

And then the letter takes a terrible turn.

“However, we got sad news last night. Now I know you will be a brave boy and write a bright letter to mother. Well, we got a wire last night to say that he had died of Bronchial Pneumonia. Poor lad, evidently his chest was weak, but we have a lot to be thankful for, as we had a letter from the nurse this morning saying he was well care for day and night.

“Mother is really wonderful. Her pains are not near so bad this morning. It is starting to snow now. I hope you get good billets for over Xmas.”

May gives a few more chatty details about cards that had been received and promises to send Willie a festive parcel, before she ends: “Mother says you are not to worry. She is alright. Write soon. Much love from us all…”

Richard, who was a butcher before he joined up at the start of the war, had died on December 17, 1918 – more than a month after the armistice had ended the war. He was the 42nd man from Sedgefield to die, and the last.

Sedgefield residents have been holding a service at the war memorial to remember each of the 42 on the 100th anniversary of their deaths. They began on April 25, 2015, commemorating Pte Robert Ruddick, 24, of the Durham Light Infantry, who died just 11 days after reaching the front near Ypres, and they will end on Monday when Driver Richard Robinson is remembered.

Three generations of Robinsons, many of whom still live in Sedgefield, will be present, including those descended from the youngest brother, William.

Born in 1898, Willie had joined up in the middle of the war when he became old enough. “During the Germans’ Spring Offensive of March 1918, he was on the Somme and was shot,” says his grandson, Will. “The bullet seems to have gone underneath his helmet and across the top of his head, leaving a scar which was visible until he died in 1975 – he never let anyone touch it.

“He was knocked unconscious, and taken back for treatment.

“Before he was shot, he had very, very thick straight hair, and afterwards, he ended up with very tight curls.”

Willie recovered to rejoin the Machine Gun Corps as it pushed through Belgium and, once the war had ended, into Germany, where he received the terrible news just a day or so before Christmas that his elder brother had died.

The ceremony to commemorate Richard, the last of Sedgefield’s First World War victims, begins at 10.45am on Monday.