11 November 1918 – Not so peaceful

Even though at 5.00 am documents were signed in a railway carriage which would in effect end the Great War and that all guns would be put down at 11.00 and there would be peace, 10,944 were still wounded that day and 2,738 died (some may have been from wounded before 11 November)

Meet four of the men that died that day.

Private George Edward Ellison was the last British soldier to die.   He was a soldier before the war and had been at Mons at the beginning of the war.   Here he was back again and at 09.30 am on 11 November 1918 he was scouting around the woods at Mons where Germans were supposed to be when he was shot by a sniper.  He left behind a wife and child in Leeds who were not told of his death until about a month later.

Private George Lawrence Price was from Canada.  It is often reported that he was the last person from the Allies to be shot.   George was among a patrol of 5 who went to search houses one by one.  They discovered Germans setting up heavy machine guns by a brick wall and facing these guns towards their battalion across the river.   They tried to shot at the patrol but realising that they were discovered, the Germans started their retreat.  George was shot by a German Sniper upon leaving one of the houses they were searching.  He died at 10.58 am.

Poor Augustin-Joseph Trebuchon – all he was trying to do was to take a message to troops by the River Meuse.  The message was to notify them that soup would be served at 11.30 am to celebrate the peace.  He was killed at 10.45 am and would be the last frenchman killed.

The last ally soldier to be killed at 10:59 am was Henry Nicholas John Gunther.   Ironically his parents were both children of German immigrants.   It is debated about what exactly happened that morning but the US soldiers had been told that there would be no let up until 11.00 am.  They spotted German soldiers on the crescent of the slope with machine guns.   The Germans looked at the Americans in disbelief knowing that soon their guns would be silenced.   No-one know what drove Henry to get up and charge at the enemy.  The Germans defending their position until 11.00 am shot back at him.

For the Germans, it would be worse for at midnight,  German soldiers arriving at Hamant  in Belgium by train were blown apart by a mine – hundreds were killed 13 hours after the armistice.

It is difficult to comprehend these days of communication being so slow.  Fighting, however, did continue in some areas until they received the last order at 4.15 pm on that day.   However for General Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck who was in Africa he did not learn about his nation’s defeat until 23rd November whereupon he surrendered.

#lest we forget  #armistice day  #george ellison #george price #augustin trebuchon #henry gunther


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