By JILL LAWLESS
Associated Press Writer
LONDON (AP) -- Alfred Anderson, the last known survivor of the 1914 "Christmas Truce" that saw British and German soldiers exchanging gifts and handshakes in no man's land, died early Monday, his parish priest said. He was 109. His death leaves fewer than 10 veterans of World War I alive in Britain.
Anderson died in his sleep at a nursing home in Newtyle, Scotland, said Rev. Neil Gardner of Alyth Parish Church.
Born June 25, 1896, Anderson was an 18-year-old soldier in the Black Watch regiment when British and German troops cautiously emerged from their trenches on Dec. 25, 1914. The enemies swapped cigarettes and tunic buttons, sang carols and even played soccer amid the mud and shell-holes of no man's land.
The informal truce spread along much of the Western Front, in some cases lasting for days.
"I remember the silence, the eerie sound of silence," Anderson told The Observer newspaper last year.
"All I'd heard for two months in the trenches was the hissing, cracking and whining of bullets in flight, machine gun fire and distant German voices," said Anderson, who was billeted in a farmhouse behind the front lines.
"But there was a dead silence that morning, right across the land as far as you could see. We shouted 'Merry Christmas,' even though nobody felt merry. The silence ended early in the afternoon and the killing started again. It was a short peace in a terrible war."
edited, forgot the link
Edited by Nonny, 21 November 2005 - 08:00 AM.