Thursday, 11 November 2010

The last casualty of the Great War

On this day in 1918 the Great War ended. Twenty million people had been killed and the fighting raged all the way up to the time of Armistice at 11:11 a.m.. As I mention on my post about the First Kill documentary, one of the sad facts about the human condition is that we really like war and killing. While everyone on both sides knew the war was about to end, instead of hunkering down in their trenches and letting the time tick away peacefully, both sides opened up a tremendous artillery barrage.

Nobody knows how many died in those last few minutes, but it's generally accepted that Pvt. George Lawrence Price was the last man killed in World War One. A conscript in the Canadian army, Price was on the Western Front on that fateful day. He was part of a minor offensive to take the village of Havré in the last hours of the war. Why anyone would launch an offensive when the war was already won is anybody's guess. A German sniper shot him at 10:58 a.m..

Two minutes. He only had to survive for two more minutes. Sometimes the true stories are the most dramatic.

[Photo courtesy Gord Goddard via Wikimedia Commons]

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