Tuesday, November 22, 2005


All quiet on the Western Front

So close to Veterans Day the death of Scotsman Alfred Anderson should not go unnoticed. Mr. Anderson, 109, was Scotland's last veteran of World War I as well as the country's oldest man. Frank Urquhart reports that—

Alfred Anderson was the last of the "Old Contemptibles" - the British expeditionary force which went to war in 1914....

Mr Anderson was also a witness to the remarkable truce on the Western Front on Christmas Day 1914, when British and German troops left their trenches to exchange cigarettes, sing carols and celebrate a brief armistice.

At the time of the truce, Mr Anderson's platoon had been briefly sent back a short distance from the front line. He later recalled: "There was not a sound to be heard for a while - nothing. And then we heard some cheering. This had been the two sides fraternising, I think. Some of the boys came back from the front line and told us in the billets what was happening. Then it became the usual thing. The silence ended early in the afternoon and the killing started again. It was a short peace in a terrible war."

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