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Last soldier killed in WWI died one minute before the Armistice

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The day was November 11, 1918, and the clocks were about to strike 11.

Millions of soldiers across the world knew the Armistice was about to come into effect, but one American man had other ideas.

Sergeant Henry Gunther was about to make his mark on his history by being killed at 10.59 – one minute before the ceasefire.

Last man killed in WWI - Henry Nicholas John Gunther (June 6, 1895 ? November 11, 1918) was an American soldier and the last soldier of any of the belligerents to be killed during World War I.[1][2][3] He was killed at 10:59 a.m., one minute before the Armistice was to take effect at 11 a.m

Sergeant Henry Gunther was the last soldier to be killed during the First World War (Picture: Wikipedia Commons)

He would become the last soldier to die in the First World War.

Its still unclear why the 23-year-old charged at German machine gunners with a fixed bayonet so soon before the Armistice.

But it could be down to his disgruntled mindset.

Back home in Baltimore, Maryland, he suffered prejudice from fellow Americans who disliked his surname and German heritage.

His closest friend, Sergeant Ernest Powell, said Gunther brought this chip on his shoulder to the battlefield.

In this photo taken on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, a memorial to US World War I soldier Henry Gunther perched on a hill where he died in Chaumont-devant-Damvillers, France. Henry Gunther's time of death was recorded at 10:59am and was recognized by General John Pershing as the last American to die on the battlefront. Hundreds of troops died on the final morning of World War I _ even after an armistice was reached and before it came into force. Death at literally the 11th hour highlighted the futility of a conflict that had become even more incomprehensible in four years of battle. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

He charged at German machine gunners at this spot near Verdun in northern France (Picture: AP)

Armistice Day peace celebration, crowd of mostly boys, on a street, looking up toward the camera, Chicago, Illinois, November 1, 1918. (Photo by Chicago Sun-Times/Chicago Daily News collection/Chicago History Museum/Getty Images)

He should have celebrated the Armistice peace celebrations like the rest of America (Picture: Getty)

He described him as miserable during his service as a supply sergeant – a rank of soldier which did not reward him with a lot of friends.

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Sgt Gunther was also not even a sergeant on the day he died.

Army censors had found one of his letters in which he criticised the war, and demoted him to the rank of private as punishment.

As such, he was far from happy when his unit began taking fire from a German platoon near Verdun in northern France.

They were forced to take cover, but with the end of the war so near, they apparently stopped shooting.

11th November 1918: Crowds celebrating the signing of the Armistice at the end of World War I. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

The whole world celebrated the Armistice (Picture: Topical Press Agency/Getty)

In this photo taken on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, a memorial to US World War I soldier Henry Gunther perched on a hill where he died in Chaumont-devant-Damvillers, France. Henry Gunther's time of death was recorded at 10:59am and was recognized by General John Pershing as the last American to die on the battlefront. Hundreds of troops died on the final morning of World War I _ even after an armistice was reached and before it came into force. Death at literally the 11th hour highlighted the futility of a conflict that had become even more incomprehensible in four years of battle. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

A memorial to Henry Gunther is perched on the hill where he died (Picture: AP)

Last man killed in WWI - Henry Nicholas John Gunther (June 6, 1895 ? November 11, 1918) was an American soldier and the last soldier of any of the belligerents to be killed during World War I.[1][2][3] He was killed at 10:59 a.m., one minute before the Armistice was to take effect at 11 a.m

Its not known why he charged at the Germans so soon before the Armistice (Picture: Wikipedia Commons)

At this point Gunther got to his feet with his bayonet in hand and charged at a machine gun nest, despite Sgt Powell ordering him to stop.

The Germans did not shoot until he was within yards of their post, killing him instantly.

His divisional record said the gunfire died away and an appalling silence prevailed as he fell to the ground.

He wasnt the only soldier to die during the final hour of the First World War.

More: UK

Historians say some 3,000 men died in that brief time before the Armistice.

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General John Pershing of the US Army recorded Gunther as the last American man to die in the conflict, and he was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

A memorial for Gunther was made 90 years after his death in 2008, close to the spot where he died.

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