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Old 14 November 2018, 11:51
RSM123 RSM123 is offline
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Sergeant Henry Gunther A.E.F died one minute before the Armistice

The day was November 11, 1918, and the clocks were about to strike 11. Millions of soldiers across the world knew the Armistice was about to come into effect, but one American man had other ideas. Sergeant Henry Gunther was about to make his mark on his history by being killed at 10.59 one minute before the ceasefire.

Its still unclear why the 23-year-old charged at German machine gunners with a fixed bayonet so soon before the Armistice. But it could be down to his disgruntled mindset. Back home in Baltimore, Maryland, he suffered prejudice from fellow Americans who disliked his surname and German heritage. His closest friend, Sergeant Ernest Powell, said Gunther brought this chip on his shoulder to the battlefield.
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Old 14 November 2018, 12:31
Armitage12 Armitage12 is offline
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According to Joseph Persico's book 11th Hour, 11th Day, Gunther had been a supply sergeant in July 1918 who had been busted down to private for writing a letter about poor conditions that the censors passed to his CO. He then attempted to rehabilitate himself, undertook at least one earlier dangerous mission as a runner, and then opted to attack a machine gun nest even after word had come down that the Armistice was imminent.

I've read it elsewhere described as an attempt to overcome a charge of cowardice, so when I lecture I chose not to say his name and associate him with such a charge.

I think "disgruntled mindset" is not the right phrase to use. "Something to prove" would be more appropriate. But there is no doubt that the unit was well aware that he was the last one of them killed -- the official history that the 313th had published in 1920 lists him specifically in his own sentence about that day, though without any clarification on motivation.
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