LONDON (AP) — Alfred Anderson, the last surviving soldier to have heard the guns fall silent along the Western Front during the spontaneous “Christmas Truce” of World War I, died Nov. 21. He was 109.
More than 80 years after the war, Mr. Anderson recalled the “eerie sound of silence” as shooting stopped and soldiers climbed from trenches to greet one another on Dec. 25, 1914.
His parish priest, the Rev. Neil Gardner, said Mr. Anderson died in his sleep at a nursing home in Newtyle, Scotland.
Born June 25, 1896, Mr. Anderson was an 18-year-old soldier in the Black Watch regiment when British and German troops cautiously emerged from the trenches that Christmas Day. The enemies swapped cigarettes and tunic buttons, sang carols and even played soccer amid the mud, barbed wire and shell holes.
During the war, Mr. Anderson served briefly as valet to Capt. Fergus Bowes-Lyon, brother of the Queen Mother Elizabeth. Capt. Bowes-Lyon was killed at the Battle of Loos in 1915.
Mr. Anderson fought in France until 1916, when he was wounded by shrapnel. In 1998, he was awarded France’s Legion of Honor for his war service.