How the Great War changed our nation forever

A hundred years ago today, at 9.30am, Private George Edwin Ellison of the 5th Royal Irish Lancers was killed on a patrol at Mons.

His death was doubly ironic: he was the last British soldier to die before the Armistice that ended the Great War came into effect 90 minutes later; and he was an Old Contemptible, who had gone out with the British Expeditionary Force to Flanders in August 1914 and fought at the Battle of Mons that month, a defeat for the Allies that had precipitated a humiliating retreat.

Now it was the Germans who awaited the coup de grâce; and poor Private Ellison, who had survived everything else the Kaiser’s army could throw at him, died more pointlessly than most, with the end…