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Alfred Anderson
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Military Personnel
    (June 25, 1896-November 21, 2005)
    Born in Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom
    Scottish joiner, veteran of World War I
    Scotland's last known World War I veteran
    Last known holder of the 1914 Star (the Old Contemptibles)
    Last known combatant to participate in the 1914 World War I 'Christmas truce,' when opposing troops declared a brief and unofficial ceasefire to play football and sing Christmas carols
    Scotland's oldest man for more than a year, until his death in 2005
    Subject of the biography, 'Alfred Anderson: A Life in Three Centuries,' published in 2002
    He shares a name with a former Minnesota Vikings NFLer.
    He occasionally joked that it was his ambition was to die shot in bed by a jealous lover.
    He and his fellow soldiers' experiences during the Christmas Truce have been glamorized and whitewashed in multiple pop culture venues; most notably in 'Snoopy's Christmas' by the Royal Guardsmen.
    Although heroic, he was mainly the subject of public fascination for the happy accident of being one of the last surviving 'Christmas Truce' participants (likely not having instigated it on his own).
    He received a visit from Prince Charles in 2002, but only after it was revealed that he had served under his great-uncle, Fergus Bowes-Lyon.
    A bust of him stands on display at the public library in Alyth.
    He was only 16 when he enlisted in the Territorial Army in 1912.
    He was among the first soldiers called to duty when his battalion was sent to France.
    He spent close to two whole years enduring the horrors of the Western Front trenches, with little (if any) respite.
    On top of the horrors he encountered experiencing an unprecedented level of warfare, he dealt with the psychological stress of having to return to engaging in brutal combat with men he had been playing football on Christmas just one day earlier.
    He served with the 5th 'Black Watch' Battalion until he was wounded in the neck by shrapnel, which killed several other members of his unit, in 1916.
    His injury ended his active service, although he would finish the war as a staff sergeant and instructor, later marrying a local Scottish girl (He would become a widower in 1979).
    He was awarded the Légion d'honneur in recognition of his service on French soil (1998).
    The Royal British Legion of Scotland's Neil Griffiths said after his passing: 'He was gentle and very humorous, with a quick wit.... But I think also there was a great sadness in his heart that he had outlived his generation - all his friends had died.'
    He was living proof that the 'Christmas truce' wasn't just some fantasy dreamed up by newspapers to push a 'feel-good narrative' about humanity's enduring spirit/good-will.
    He said 'I'll give Christmas Day 1914 a brief thought, as I do every year. And I'll think about all my friends who never made it home. But it's too sad to think too much about it. Far too sad.'

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair


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