George Lawrence Price

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George Lawrence Price
George lawrence price.jpg
Born (1892-12-15)December 15, 1892
Falmouth, Nova Scotia
Died November 11, 1918(1918-11-11) (aged 25)
Ville-sur-Haine, Belgium
Buried at St Symphorien Military Cemetery, Mons, Belgium (50°25′56″N 4°0′38″E / 50.43222°N 4.01056°E / 50.43222; 4.01056 (Burial place of George Price))
Allegiance Canada / British Empire
Service/branch Canadian Corps (Army)
Years of service 1917–18
Rank Private
Unit 28th 'Northwest' Battalion Canadian Infantry (Saskatchewan Regiment) aka. 'the Nor'westers'
Battles/wars Amiens, Cambrai, & the 'Pursuit to Mons'

Private George Lawrence Price (Regimental Number: 256265) (December 15, 1892 – November 11, 1918) was a Canadian soldier. He is traditionally recognized as the last soldier of the British Empire to be killed during the First World War.

Early life[edit]

He was born in Falmouth, Nova Scotia, on December 15, 1892, and raised on Church Street, in what is now Port Williams, Nova Scotia. He lived in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, when he was conscripted on October 15, 1917.[1] He served with "A" Company of the 28th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force.

November 11, 1918[edit]

On November 11, Pte Price was part of an advance to take the small village of Havré. After a crossing of the Canal du Centre into the town of Ville-sur-Haine under German machine gun fire, Price and his patrol moved toward a row of houses intent on pursuing the machine gunner who had harassed their crossing of the canal. The patrol had entered the house from which they had thought the shooting had come, but found the Germans had exited through the back door as they entered the front. They then pursued into the house next door and again found it empty. George Price was fatally shot in the chest by a German sniper[2] as he stepped out of the house into the street, against contrary advice from a house occupant, at 10:58 a.m., November 11, 1918. He died just 2 minutes before the armistice ceasefire, that ended the war, came into effect at 11 a.m.[3]

Memorials[edit]

Memorial dedicated to the regiment of the British Expeditionary Force which took part in actions near Mons (Belgium).

Price was buried in Havre Old Communal Cemetery, one of the cemeteries subsequently concentrated into the St Symphorien military cemetery, just southeast of Mons.[4] Coincidentally, this is also the final resting place of John Parr and George Edwin Ellison, respectively the first and last British soldiers killed during the Great War.[5]

In 1968, on the 50th anniversary of his death and the armistice surviving members of his company traveled to Ville-sur-Haine and a memorial plaque was placed onto a wall of a house near the location of his death. The inscription, in English and then in French, reads in English:

To the memory of 256265 Private George Lawrence Price, 28th North West Battalion, 6th Canadian Infantry Brigade, 2nd Canadian Division, killed in action near this spot at 10.58 hours, November 11th, 1918, the last Canadian soldier to die on the Western Front in the First World War. Erected by his comrades, November 11th, 1968.

The house has since been torn down, but the plaque has been placed on a brick and stone monument near the site where the house originally stood, and thus still near the place where he fell.[1]

In 1991, the town of Ville-sur-Haine erected a new footbridge across the adjacent Canal du Centre, at 50°28′25″N 4°03′58″E / 50.4737°N 4.0662°E / 50.4737; 4.0662 (George Price Footbridge). A plebiscite was held and on 11 November of that year the bridge was officially named the George Price Footbridge (French: Passerelle George Price).[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b George Price, Web matters, retrieved 13 November 2010  Contains photographs of canal, monument and plaque.
  2. ^ Bridger, Geoff (2009). The Great War Handbook. Barnsley: Pen & Sword. p. 182. ISBN 978-1-84415-936-9. 
  3. ^ "November 11, 1918: The Last Hours, The Last Man". NW Battalion. Retrieved 2008-11-02. 
  4. ^ Casualty Details—Price, George Lawrence, Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Retrieved on 13 November 2010.
  5. ^ Lichfield, John (November 8, 2008). "Two soldiers linked in death by a bizarre coincidence". The Independent (London). 
  6. ^ Le Clercq, Jean, Le Rœulx: le village de Ville-sur-Haine (in French), Belgium, retrieved 13 November 2010 [non-primary source needed]. Contains photographs of bridge and monument, and record (in English) by Price's nephew George Barkhouse as guest at the naming of the bridge.

External links[edit]