George Lawrence Price

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
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 moved to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan as a young man, where he was conscripted on October 15, 1917. He served with "A" Company of the 28th Battalion, (Saskatchewan North West Regiment), Canadian Expeditionary Force.[1]

November 11, 1918[edit]

The 28th Battalion had orders for November 11 to advance from Frameries (South of Mons) and continue to the village of Havre, securing all the bridges on the Canal du Centre. The battalion advanced rapidly starting at 4:00 a.m., pushing back light German resistance and they reached their position along the canal facing Ville-sur-Haine by 9:00 a.m. where the battalion received a message that all hostilities would cease at 11:00 a.m.[1] Price and fellow soldier Art Goodworthy were worried that the battalion's position on the open canal bank was exposed to German positions on the opposite side of the canal where they could see bricks had been knocked out from house dormers to create firing positions. According to Goodworthy, they decided on their own initiative to take a patrol of five men across the bridge to search the houses. Reaching the houses and checking them one by one, they discovered German soldiers mounting machine guns along a brick wall overlooking the canal. The Germans opened fire on the patrol with heavy machine gun fire but the Canadians were protected by the brick walls of one of the houses. Aware that they had been discovered and outflanked, the Germans began to retreat.[2] A Belgian family in one of the houses warned the Canadians to be careful as they followed the retreating Germans. George Price was fatally shot in the chest by a German sniper[3] as he stepped out of the house into the street. He was pulled into one of the houses and treated by a young Belgian nurse who ran across the street to help, but died a minute later at 10:58 a.m., November 11, 1918. His death was just two minutes before the armistice came into effect at 11 a.m.[4]

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.[5] 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.[6]

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).[7]

In 2016, Price's medal set and the memorial plaque were donated to the Canadian War Museum.[8][9]

See also[edit]

  • Augustin Trébuchon, last French soldier killed in World War I, 10:45 a.m. November 11, 1918

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c George Price, Web matters, retrieved 13 November 2010  Contains photographs of canal, monument and plaque.
  2. ^ Interview with Art Goodworthy, "Flanders' Fields: Canadian Voices from Vimy", CBC Radio, 1965 quoted in "Study Group Blog on George Lawrence Price", accessed November 11, 2016
  3. ^ Bridger, Geoff (2009). The Great War Handbook. Barnsley: Pen & Sword. p. 182. ISBN 978-1-84415-936-9. 
  4. ^ "November 11, 1918: The Last Hours, The Last Man". NW Battalion. Retrieved 2008-11-02. 
  5. ^ "Casualty Details: Price, George Lawrence". Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Retrieved 13 November 2010. 
  6. ^ Lichfield, John (November 8, 2008). "Two soldiers linked in death by a bizarre coincidence". The Independent. London. 
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Ottawa Citizen: Museum receives memorial plaque and medals in honour of last Canadian soldier killed during First World War
  9. ^ CBC: Honouring the last Commonwealth soldier killed in WWI

External links[edit]