PVT Henry Gunther

Henry Gunther [June, 1895 – November 11, 1918] was recorded as the last official American death World War I. Gunther was one of at least 2,738 troops and 320 Americans to die on the Western Front on the war’s final day.

Among those dodging the geysers of mud and iron erupting from the shells plugging in the mire outside Ville-devant-Chaumont was 23-year-old private Henry Gunther. Before war ripped him away from his new fiancée and comfortable job at a Baltimore bank, life had been good for the handsome, mustachioed grandson of German immigrants. Drafted into service, he shipped out to France in July 1918 as his company’s supply sergeant, but when military censors read a letter Gunther had penned to a friend back home complaining about life in the trenches and urging him to avoid serving his country, the Army demoted him to private. Gunther’s grand-niece, Carol Gunther Aikman, says a further blow came when his fiancée decided to break off their engagement following his demotion.

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