May hon­ours first and last dead, united in a for­eign field

The Sunday Telegraph - - News - By Pa­trick Sawer

GE­ORGE EL­LI­SON had only to get to 11am on Nov 11 1918 to sur­vive the car­nage that claimed mil­lions over the course of the First World War. But he was shot and killed by a Ger­man sniper just 90 min­utes be­fore the Armistice bring­ing peace be­tween the war­ring sides came into ef­fect.

The 40-year-old York­shire­man was the last Bri­tish soldier to be killed in the con­flict and next week the Prime Min­is­ter will lay a wreath at his grave at the St Sym­phorien Mil­i­tary Ceme­tery in Mons, Bel­gium, as part of a se­ries of events mark­ing 100 years since the end of the war.

At the same cer­e­mony she will lay a wreath at the grave of north Lon­doner John Parr, 17, the first Bri­tish soldier to be killed at the out­break of war, in 1914, when his pa­trol en­coun­tered a Ger­man cav­alry de­tach­ment. By co­in­ci­dence, the two sol­diers are buried op­po­site each other.

Later, Theresa May will join Em­manuel Macron, the French pres­i­dent, in lay­ing a spe­cial wreath at the Thiep­val Memo­rial in France, which bears the names of more than 72,000 of­fi­cers and troops who died in the Bat­tle of the Somme. The two lead­ers will jointly lay a wreath com­bin­ing pop­pies and le bleuet, the two na­tional em­blems of re­mem­brance for Britain and France.

On Sun­day the Prime Min­is­ter will at­tend the tra­di­tional wreath-lay­ing cer­e­mony at the Ceno­taph, where, for the first time, a Ger­man leader, Pres­i­dent Frank-Wal­ter Stein­meier, will also lay a wreath in a his­toric act of rec­on­cil­i­a­tion.

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