Sixty thousand Canadians had already died in combat during the First World War before Pte. George Lawrence Price took a sniper’s bullet to the heart in a small Belgian town at precisely 10:58 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918. He’d be the last. None would follow.
Price, serving with the Saskatchewan Regiment, was part of that final, 100-day Allied push, led by the ferocious and, by then, feared Canadian Corps, which had pushed German troops back toward their homeland.
After four years of stalemate and atrocious trench warfare that had claimed millions of men, the advance in that late summer and fall of 1918 was dramatic. Suddenly, there was talk of outright victory, or at least an advantageous ceasefire.
But there would be one more battle for the Canucks to fight. It would be at Mons, where German infantry were engaged in a running rearguard action to slow the Allied advance before it reached the Rhine.
Word spread among the High Command that the 11th hour of that 11th month would herald a ceasefire — The Armistice, it would later be called. It is what we will celebrate on Sunday.
George Lawrence Price of Falmouth, N.S., is widely believed to have been the last Commonwealth soldier killed before armistice took effect at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918.
Price’s great-great-nephew, Cam Bartlett, is now studying for his thesis in Canadian First World War military history at the University of Calgary. He’s unsure if Price knew he was only minutes from peaceful safety when he rounded-up some comrades in the village of Havre and went after a German machine gun nest that morning, a century ago.
“The German machine-gun crew started firing and they took refuge in a house across the river. But there were civilians in the house and Price didn’t want them harmed, so they decided to …read more
Source:: Calgary Herald