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Monday, November 10, 2008




While researching this battle I came across some fascinating information about a Nova Scotian soldier who had the great misfortune of being the last Canadian fighting man to die in the First World War. His name was Private George Lawrence Price and he was from Falmouth, a small village on the mainland, not too far from Windsor.
Private Price had joined the Canadian Army, 2nd Canadian Division, in the late fall of 1917. After basic training, he was shipped overseas and by early November of the next year was involved in military action against the German army in Belgium, on what was called the Western Front. By November 1918 the war had been going on for four long years and Germany and its allies were rapidly running out of manpower and resources. It was obvious to most that the fighting was slowly winding down and would probably stop well before Christmas.
Early on the morning of Nov. 11, the following important message was sent out to all allied armies on the Western Front. (We can also assume that the same information was sent to the various German army groups in Western Europe.)
“Hostilities will cease at 11:00 hours on Nov. 11. Troops will stand fast on the line reached at that time, which will be reported to army headquarters. Strictest precautions will be maintained and there will be no communication of any kind with the enemy.”
While most commanders were quite content to simply let their men sit out the final few hours remaining until 11 a.m., some took it upon themselves to encourage their men to continue fighting up until the appointed time. Unfortunately, this was the case with private Price’s division group and his unit continued to advance toward an enemy position on the opposite side of a small canal.
At precisely 10:58, two minutes before the official end of hostilities, private Price was shot through the chest by a German sniper, hidden in a house. One of his fellow soldiers dragged the wounded man out of the line of fire, while a young Belgian woman who witnessed the incident risked her life to make her way across the street to come to his aid. There was nothing that could be done, for the Canadian private died within a few minutes. He was 26 years old.
Tuesday will be the 90th anniversary of the First World War, or as it was called at the time “The War To End All Wars.” Approximately 67,000 young Canadian men and women were killed in this war and another 173,000 wounded. It was a high price to pay for a country with a total population at that time of only seven million.
And Private George Lawrence Price from Nova Scotia, was the last to die. With only two minutes left till the end of the war!

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