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Henry Gunther, the last American soldier who died in World War I, got himself killed in a rather dumb way.
Gunther had worked as a supply sergeant but because of a critical letter that he had sent home to a friend, he was demoted to the rank of a Private. This is maybe the reason for what followed next.
On the last day of the war, both sides, Americans and Germans, knew that an Armistice was signed and both warring factions just waited for 11.00 o’clock, the exact time the peace treaty would come into force.
At exactly 10:59, Private Gunther planted a bayonet on his rifle and started attacking the German positions. His sergeant ordered him to stay put and his comrades also tried to stop him, but to no avail. Even the Germans were waving at him to go back but when he continued running towards their positions, they opened fire and killed him.
Later on, his comrades said that “Gunther brooded a great deal over his recent reduction in rank, and became obsessed with a determination to make good before his officers and fellow soldiers”.
The military posthumously awarded him with a Distinguished Service Cross. They liked his determination to fight until the last second.
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