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7th May 1945.
As VE days comes around each year I’m reminded of a visit my late wife and I made some 20 years ago. We’d done a circular tour stopping at Florence, Rome, Pompeii and Venice before heading for home. One of our overnight stops was at Saint Avold which lies just a couple of miles from the A4 and twenty or so miles from Metz. As we’d reached there in the late afternoon, we took the advice of our new neighbour and did the short drive to the American War Cemetery. It is huge – with white crosses extending almost as far as the eye can see. One of the plaques tells the pathetic story of one of the young men buried there. He had been posted to Britain in 1943 where his training continued. He had taken part in the landing on Omaha Beach on D-day, had fought his way through France, Belgium and crossed the Rhine into Germany. On the morning of 7th of May 1945, he and his platoon were caught in an ambush where the young man took a bullet in the head. Only when the firefight was almost over did the wireless operator hear the news that a cease fire had been agreed just a half-hour earlier. He is reputed to be the last American soldier to be killed in World War II.

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