Last of Newfoundland's WW1 vets passes away

Newfoundland's last remaining First World War veteran has passed away. Wallace Pike died on Sunday in Bay Roberts. He was 99.

Wallace Pike was growing up in Jamestown, Bonavista Bay at the outbreak of World War One. Not wanting to be called a coward by the local girls, he lied about his age and volunteered.

The fighting was a world away, but he still knew what he was getting into. He'd seen what the war had done to his cousin: "He was all broke up, three bullets in his chest..." Before the war ended Pike, too, would be wounded, in the hand and leg. While he didn't speak often of his time overseas, when he did, his stories would captivate his children when they were growing up.

Wallace Pike had had enough of war by the time the armistice came, and upon his return he would join the Salvation Army where he rose to the rank of brigadiers: "To be honest about it, I felt that's what God wanted me to do. Just remember I had been trained to kill men and now if I could I'd go out and save them or help them be good."

Last November, the government of France recognized Wallace Pike's contribution, presenting him its highest accolade, the legion of honour. In giving the award, Ambassador Denis Bauchard said, "Through your courage you sealed forever the eternal bonds of friendship, solidarity and affection between our two countries."

Wallace Pike was Newfoundland's last living tie to the Great War - the very last of his kind.