The Last casualties of the Great War

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by bensonby, Oct 29, 2008.

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  1. I've just spotted this interesting article on the BBC website:

    I've read somewhere else that the high number of casualties that day were partly due to commanders and troops not wanting to transport all their ordanance home so fired off lots in teh final hours of the war. I don't know how true that is.....but the casualties that day just underscore the futility of the sacrifice of so many in that war.
  2. flyingmonkey, who was our guide on the Somme tour, said that some of the action in the final hours was due to generals wanting to take more land to secure bargaining rights.

    We saw the grave of a lad killed in action on 11th November 1918, which in a graveyard of wasted youth seemed to me somewhat sadder still.
  3. A lot of the formations were engaged in full-on war at the time - the Armistice was unexpected and in many cases not well received. The German army was in the initial stages of rout and was being rapidly rolled up in places. If you read memoires that cover the end of the war, its surprising just how many British soldiers resented the outbreak of peace - not only because they thought they were being cheated of complete victory (and many accurately predict the resurgent militarism of the Germans) but because most realised how institutionalised they were and how tough things were likely to be in post-war civvie street.

    Its also a bit erroneous to label these soldiers as the "last ones to die in WW1" (though typical BBC dumbing down of history), as fringes of the conflict more or less carried on for months or years. There must have also been hundreds killed whilst clearing ordnance or through other accidents in the months after 11 Nov.
  4. This doesn't include the many thousands, on both sides, who died within a few years of the Great War, due to wounds incurred or privations suffered. Typically, surviving veterans died young, many thousands, weakened by service in the trenches succumbed to the Spanish flu after the war.

    Incidentally, the first and last British and Commonwealth soldiers to be killed are buried in the same cemetery...
  5. oldbaldy

    oldbaldy LE Moderator Good Egg (charities)
    1. Battlefield Tours

    And American officers who wanted 'bragging rights' when they came to stand for office back in the USA after hostilities were over.
  6. Oh yes, I forgot that bit.
  7. Whilst obviously not "in action", I was looking at the German war graves in Gutersloh last w/e, and noticed the last WW1 war grave was 1937, whilst the last WWII I saw was 1954 (Russian prisoner?)
  8. It does highlight the utter senselessness of World War 1. Not many knew why it started and many died after the armistice had been signed because they didn't know about it.
  9. Still dying - about 7 a year on average via WW1 UXO.
  10. St. Symphorien, just southeast of Mons.

    Pte Parr, Middlesex Regiment (the first) lies almost facing Private Ellison 5th Lancers (the last).


    The same cemetery has the last Canadian soldier to die in the conflict and the first VC.


    The one with the wreath is the last Canadian KIA.

    Richard Holmes is right when he says; if you only visit on CWGC cemetery, make it St. Symphorien.
  11. Two of ours after the Armisitice;

    1. 'Corporal H.H. aged 45 years, who also served with the 2nd Batt. South Wales Borderers in South Africa, died from the effects of service during the last war'.

    2. 'F.H. was discharged medically unfit and subsequently died at the age of 43 years'.

    Ivor was killed at Gallipoli.

    That is the death score from this list;


    Excluding my Great Grandfather of course, who got as far as Swansea Docks before his age was discovered.

    Spelling mistake in Armistice.
  12. Earlier in the year whilst we were making the Vampir dugout documentary (C4 - 10/11/08 @ 9pm) a very good friend of mine, Paul Reed, was acting as the historical advisor and consultant for the programme mentioned in this thread. I managed to have a good chat to Paul about it, and it certainly looks like it will be an interesting documentary. it was made by a chap called John Hayes Fisher who has made a number of First World War documentaries and is himself, a WW1 enthusiast. I look forward to seeing this on Saturday evening.