I first learned of this story just a few weeks ago while doing other research and stumbling upon a very strange looking marker. Investigating further I also saw an image of a guard of honour. It seemed to be made up with men from several regiments. One stood out to me instantly. He was wearing the kilt of the Toronto Scottish Regiment. One of my old units.
Thus my digging in to get the full story, which I started to bring you last week.
Heroes all, that are well represented by various forms of commemoration in far away lands, yet so sparsely honoured here at home in Canada.
either killed, wounded or became Missing In Action in the 2 days leading up to the 11 a.m. November 11th Armistice.
At the top of the heavy blue line is a village called Sur Haine. This is where a sniper's bullet took the life of George Price with one shot into the chest from the back. It came from up an incline some distance off and out of Price's sight.
Within minutes the Canadian was dead. He has been claimed to be the last soldier from the Commonwealth to be KIA in the war. He was buried in the immediate area at the Town of Havre's Communal Cemetery.
In 1958 Price's remains were removed and laid to rest at the Military Cemetery at Saint Symphorien. (Shown above at bottom of heavy blue line.) In the same cemetery also at rest is Lt. Maurice J Dease an Irishman and British Officer who's award of the Victoria Cross in August of 1914 was the first such award in the war. Also at rest in this same cemetery is Pte. John Parr of the 4th Bn,.. Middlesex Regiment who was KIA 21 Aug. 1914, the first of the commonwealth to die in action in the war.
Price's actions would be memorialized in several ways over the years including last month.
To begin, on the 50th anniversary of his death, a contingent of still living veterans of the very battle from the 28th North West Battalion, Sask. Regiment, (now the Regina Rifles Regiment) visited the Price grave. While there they also unveiled a memorial tablet that was affixed on the side of a wall of one of the very houses Price and the three others tried to clear back in 1918.
Here is that plaque...
Over the years it was decided to widen the canal, which runs off to the left and under the footbridge, shown above. To do this several homes had to be removed. One of these had the plaque fastened to it side. Above we see the plaque almost in its original position but now without the house.
It appears that in about 1991 and old motor vehicle bridge was replaced crossing the canal, and as shown in the above picture. That year this new bridge... a walking bridge..or footbridge if you will,..was dedicated to and named after Pte. George Price of Nova Scotia.
In April 2015 quite a crowd from Canada and Belgium gathered near where George fell to his death to rename a public school in his name. Here is a picture of the events that day...
Those living in Ottawa or planning a trip to the capital are encouraged to visit the incredible Canadian War Museum down town. It is just minutes walking distance from the Parliament buildings.
There you will find an exhibit for WW1 and within it, the medals donated by the price family and the Royal Canadian Legion.
Next week I will bring the final blog on this subject with the issues that first got me going on it...
see you then