Alfred Anderson, 109, Last Man From 'Christmas Truce' of 1914, Dies
Alfred Anderson was the last surviving soldier to have been present when the guns fell silent along the Western Front in the spontaneous
"Christmas Truce" of World War I.
Born June 25, 1896, he was an 18-year-old soldier in the Black Watch regiment when British and German troops cautiously emerged from the trenches that Christmas Day in 1914. The enemies swapped cigarettes and tunic buttons, sang carols and even played soccer amid the mud, barbed wire and shell holes of no man's land.
The informal truce spread along much of the 500-mile Western Front, in some cases lasting for days - alarming army commanders who feared fraternization would sap the troops' will to fight. The next year vast battles of attrition began, which claimed 10 million lives, and the Christmas truce was never repeated.
More than 80 years after the war, Mr. Anderson recalled the "eerie sound of silence" as shooting stopped and soldiers clambered from trenches to greet one another Dec. 25, 1914.
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