Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Johannes Luiga: Estonia's Youngest Fallen Hero from its War of Independence

On Independence Day we remember and pay tribute to the brave men who fought in Estonia's War of Independence between 1918 and 1920.

All of these men were volunteers who risked their lives to preserve the liberty and independence of their beloved homeland.  

The youngest Estonian casualty of the War of Independence was Johannes Luiga who was just 14 years old when he fell in battle.  At first Johannes was forbidden from taking part in the war effort and was unsuccessful in reaching the front line by train from Tartu. Inspired by his older brothers, he tried again and travelled to Valga, later seeing action on the front line.  He served with distinction and won the respect of his fellow patriots.  He died as a result of a gunshot wound to the head on 25th April 1919 and was awarded the Cross of Liberty posthumously the following year.

He is buried in Nõo Cemetery near Tartu in southern Estonia.

Johannes Luiga (left) with his two brothers.
5th November 1904 - 25th April 1919.

More information about Johannes Luiga (in Estonian) can be found here:

Monument bearing his name in Sänna, Võrumaa.