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Last Soldier to Perish in the Great War

Article about: Henry Nicholas Gunther was reportedly the last soldier of the contending nation to have been killed-in-action during the First World War. Henry died instantly from a bullet to the head at 10

  1. #11

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    Easy to say that now Andy, but there must have been more to it, and there was, in his mid. I feel he may have had a void to fill in his conscious after suffering the demotion. Honor in family name comes to mind. Imagine having to go home a private and having to answer questions about why you're not a sergeant anymore. That could be an earth shattering event. Perhaps he felt this action would elevate him in status and overshadow the demotion. Or maybe it was that he had an idea to be the last act in the Great War, kind of a "take that!" to Pershing and anyone else involved in his demotion.

    Could be any number of reasons why he did it.

  2. #12

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    Yes very true mate, I did oversimplify it a bit. A very sad episode altogether.

    I'd still like to think that the junior officers would try and keep their guys out of harms way that morning though.

    PS: my 'madness' comment was more a general one as to the situation, not directed at the man personally.

  3. #13

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    Perhaps they did but it's tough to overcome someone headstrong will to do something, and they probably weren't going to chase down a fool on a fools errand.

  4. #14

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    A bad turn of events in those days. Bad Communication, bad thinking on the part of the officers. They were still in this Napoleonic fighting mode. Who would be dumb enough to order a charge out of trenches towards enemy fixed placement machinegun fire so thick a fly couldn't get through. You would have thought the military would have learned some tactics after the civil war... You know line up and shoot each other and who ever is left standing wins?? What a waste of life.
    Just my thoughts,

    John
    I specialize in M1 carbines and Lugers.

  5. #15

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    You also have to wonder why the Germans would still be fighting so close to the 11th hour.

    The Canadians stormed a town on the last day so the officers could have nice billets with baths, or so I have read.
    Regards,

    Jerry

    Whatever its just an opinion.

  6. #16

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    So many questions, not enough cyber-ink to share at present although I think there are a few reasons that can and should be brought to bear.

    For now, however, here's an answer to one of the questions as to where the remains of Henry Gunther can be found:

    Henry Nicholas Gunther (1895 - 1918) - Find A Grave Memorial

  7. #17

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    Quote by Jerry B View Post
    The Canadians stormed a town on the last day so the officers could have nice billets with baths, or so I have read.
    Reminds me of a saying I saw on a shirt once

    Name:  officers.jpg
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  8. #18
    ?

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    Quote by stuka f View Post
    If I recall it right, 9000 American soldiers died that last day....in trying to gain terrain...
    I hope you get to find him , Todd!
    |<
    That figure of 9,000 KIA on 11-11-18 seems awfully high to me. Total US KIA in WWI were 116,516, bad enough for less than a year of serious combat.

    BobS

  9. #19

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    The problem with Gunther's death is a strange one. No one knows what he was doing when he got shot. From the accounts that I've read about his death, he had a strange look on his face and just kept on coming at the German lines with his gun ready and bayonet fixed. The Germans were all shouting to him in English "The War is Over!" "Stop!" but he ignored them all and kept on coming until one finally had to rather reluctantly shoot him rather than allow him to continue on to attack them. It may have been a case of battle fatigue or maybe he simply had a breakdown of some sort, but, rather understandably, the Germans actually had little choice in the matter.
    William

    "Much that once was, is lost. For none now live who remember it."

  10. #20

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    Quote by Wagriff View Post
    The problem with Gunther's death is a strange one. No one knows what he was doing when he got shot. From the accounts that I've read about his death, he had a strange look on his face and just kept on coming at the German lines with his gun ready and bayonet fixed. The Germans were all shouting to him in English "The War is Over!" "Stop!" but he ignored them all and kept on coming until one finally had to rather reluctantly shoot him rather than allow him to continue on to attack them. It may have been a case of battle fatigue or maybe he simply had a breakdown of some sort, but, rather understandably, the Germans actually had little choice in the matter.
    It does seem to have been a very sad case and battle fatigue is the probable cause, what a shame to waste another life at such a late stage in the war, another young life lost.
    Regards,

    Jerry

    Whatever its just an opinion.

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