The First and Last British Soldiers to Die in WWI

The First and Last British Soldiers to Die in WWI


The first and last British soldiers that died in WW1 are, by coincidence, buried 15 feet away from each other.


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Just a few feet apart in a cemetery like so many others, two simple war graves book-end Britain's tragic First World War military toll.

They mark the final resting place of John Parr and George Ellison – the first and last British soldiers to die in combat in the devastating conflict.

Private Parr is thought to have been just 16 when he was shot dead by advancing German troops on the Belgium-France border on August 21, 1914.

Nearly a million more British and Commonwealth troops were to die by the time Private Ellison was killed just over an hour before the Armistice ceasefire at 11am on November 11, 1918.

Their burial together in Belgium's Saint Symphorien cemetery is an ­extraordinary coincidence – but their stories illustrate the monumental horror faced by the ordinary citizens who became heroes in the "war to end all wars".

John Parr's age is listed as 20 in the official cemetery register – but like many enthusiastic young recruits he is thought to have lied about his age when he joined up in 1913.


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