Author Topic: Last veteran of WWI trenches dies at 111  (Read 1380 times)

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Offline Riddikulus

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Last veteran of WWI trenches dies at 111
« on: July 26, 2009, 02:21:11 AM »
Harry Patch, the last soldier to fight in the trenches of Europe during World War I, has died at the age of 111.

Claude Choules, 108, who lives in Perth, Australia, and served with the Royal Navy, now becomes the last surviving veteran of the 1914-18 conflict from the British side.

Patch, who fought at the notorious Battle of Passchendaele in 1917, was also Britain's oldest man following the death of fellow veteran Henry Allingham, the oldest man in the world, one week ago.

He is the last World War I veteran to have served in the trenches, according to the dersdesders.free.fr website, which is regarded as an authoritative chronicle of veterans of the conflict.

"The Great War is a chapter in our history we must never forget, so many sacrifices were made, so many young lives lost," said Prince Charles, reacting to Patch's death on Saturday.

"So today nothing could give me greater pride than paying tribute to Harry Patch."

"The noblest of all the generations has left us, but they will never be forgotten," Prime Minister Gordon Brown added. "We say today with still greater force, we will remember them."

Patch did not speak about his wartime experiences until he was aged 100 and was strongly opposed to violent conflict, calling war "organised murder".

"It was not worth it, it was not worth one let alone all the millions," he said.

"It's important that we remember the war dead on both sides of the line - the Germans suffered the same as we did."

Last year, he made his last trip to Belgium to remember his fallen comrades and unveil a memorial.

Patch - nicknamed "The Last Tommy" by Britain's media - was conscripted into the British army at the age of 18 and served as a machine-gunner with the 7th Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry.

He was 19 when he fought in the 1917 Battle of Passchendaele, also known as the Third Battle of Ypres, in Belgium in which an estimated 500,000 soldiers died.

That battle was one of the bloodiest in the conflict. One of the opposing German soldiers was Adolf Hitler.

After four months in the trenches, Patch was wounded by shrapnel in a German shell attack in which three of his comrades died. He was sent home to Britain and his war was over.

In France, the secretary of state for defence and veterans Hubert Falco paid tribute to Patch and recalled other World War I soldiers who recently died, including Allingham and the last French veteran Lazare Ponticelli last year.

"One of the last witnesses to the Great War has passed away, and I want to pay homage to him," Falco said of Patch in a statement.

Following the war, Patch worked as a plumber until his retirement in 1961. During World War II, he worked as a fireman on the home front.

Patch married Ada Billington in 1919 and the couple were married for 58 years until her death and had two sons, both of whom Patch outlived.

He married his second wife Jean in 1980 but she died in 1984.

Patch's care home, Fletcher House in Wells, southwest England, said he died early on Saturday. His friend Jim Ross added that he was "surrounded by his many friends" when he passed away.

"Funeral arrangements are being made in accordance with Mr Patch's wishes, and we wish to extend our deepest sympathies to his family," the home said.

The funeral is due to be held at Wells and will focus on prayers for peace and reconciliation, the Ministry of Defence said.

Patch's biographer Richard Van Emden told BBC television that "he was just a lovely man, he had a sparkle and a twinkle about him".

"He was the last of that generation and the poignancy of that is almost overwhelming," he said.

The dersdesders.free.fr website says there are three remaining Great War veterans in the world - Choules plus Frank Buckles, 108, of the United States and John Babcock, 109, who is Canadian but also lives in the United States.

Buckles and Babcock did not see active combat, it adds.

http://au.news.yahoo.com/a/-/world/5751151/last-veteran-of-wwi-trenches-dies-at-111/

Memory Eternal.
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Offline John of the North

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Re: Last veteran of WWI trenches dies at 111
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2009, 03:04:10 AM »
Memory eternal!

Henry Allingham also died recently: http://themonarchist.blogspot.com/2009/07/kitcheners-last-volunteer-rip.html

"Henry Allingham who lived for 113 years and 42 days was Britain's oldest surviving volunteer of the Great War. Incredibly he fought on land, sea and in the air in that titanic struggle. He was the last founding member of the Royal Air Force and its precursor, the Royal Naval Air Service, and the last surviving veteran of the Battle of Jutland. He survived six monarchs, and 21 prime ministers during his long life, and was one of the last living links to the Victorian age. He was the world's oldest man and the oldest Englishman ever."
"Christianity is not a philosophy, not a doctrine, but life." - Elder Sophrony (Sakharov)

Offline Entscheidungsproblem

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Re: Last veteran of WWI trenches dies at 111
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2009, 03:40:34 AM »
Memory eternal!
As a result of a thousand million years of evolution, the universe is becoming conscious of itself, able to understand something of its past history and its possible future.
-- Sir Julian Sorell Huxley FRS

Offline Riddikulus

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Re: Last veteran of WWI trenches dies at 111
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2009, 04:31:24 AM »
Memory eternal!

Henry Allingham also died recently: http://themonarchist.blogspot.com/2009/07/kitcheners-last-volunteer-rip.html

"Henry Allingham who lived for 113 years and 42 days was Britain's oldest surviving volunteer of the Great War. Incredibly he fought on land, sea and in the air in that titanic struggle. He was the last founding member of the Royal Air Force and its precursor, the Royal Naval Air Service, and the last surviving veteran of the Battle of Jutland. He survived six monarchs, and 21 prime ministers during his long life, and was one of the last living links to the Victorian age. He was the world's oldest man and the oldest Englishman ever."

Memory Eternal.
I believe in One God, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.

Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.
Theodosius Dobzhansky, Russian Orthodox Christian (1900-1975)

Offline Ebor

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Re: Last veteran of WWI trenches dies at 111
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2009, 10:10:27 AM »
May both gentlemen rest in Peace.
"I wish they would remember that the charge to Peter was "Feed my sheep", not "Try experiments on my rats", or even "Teach my performing dogs new tricks". - C. S. Lewis

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Offline mike

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Re: Last veteran of WWI trenches dies at 111
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2009, 10:25:07 AM »
Memory eternal!

Offline Fr. George

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Re: Last veteran of WWI trenches dies at 111
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2009, 11:44:56 AM »
Lord, have mercy on his soul!
"O Cross of Christ, all-holy, thrice-blessed, and life-giving, instrument of the mystical rites of Zion, the holy Altar for the service of our Great Archpriest, the blessing - the weapon - the strength of priests, our pride, our consolation, the light in our hearts, our mind, and our steps"
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Offline stashko

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Re: Last veteran of WWI trenches dies at 111
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2009, 04:30:33 PM »
Блажени Покој , И Вечнаја Памјат...Амин Амин
ГОСПОДЕ ГОСПОДЕ ,ПОГЛЕДАЈ СА НЕБА ,ДОЂИ И ПОСЕТИ ТВОЈ ВИНОГРАД ТВОЈА ДЕСНИЦА ПОСАДИЛА АМИН АМИН.

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Last veteran of WWI trenches dies at 111
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2009, 06:07:06 PM »
Memory eternal!

My grandfather, I am told (he died nearly a generation before me), used to weep when he drank too much, over those he killed "who didn't do anything to me": he had volunteered for the war and was gassed within a week before the Armistice.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline John of the North

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Re: Last veteran of WWI trenches dies at 111
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2009, 06:18:54 PM »
Some excerpts from a letter a relative sent during WW1...

“About noon that day we got the order to go over the top. So over we went. I know you think that they run, holler, yell and such like, but that is not the case. At least, it was not so on that occasion, for we walked very grim and quiet. I can speak only for myself, for until I struck the barbed wire, my mind simply stood still. I did not think of anything at all. Something hit me on the leg and tore my pants. Then my mind worked overtime. The noise was maddening, bullets whizzed by me singing their death song, shrapnels were screaming overhead and shells were bursting in every direction. The air was filled with iron and lead and practically all my comrades fell.”

“I cannot for the life of me imagine how I happened to escape. I don’t know how anyone could have survived it. However, several others as well as myself reached the German trenches, but there were only two Huns in that part. We had no officers and only a wounded sergeant and eight men; so not knowing what to do, held that end, for the men on our left never reached the trench. I stayed in there for hours, shivering with fear and expecting every minute to be the next.”

“That afternoon I got into another trench with some more men and a few officers. Near midnight we were again ordered to over the top. Once again I succeeded in getting safely across, but as before, there were only a few Huns to greet us. They ran leaving everything, even their rifles. Those that remained are there yet.”

“We were in three days and three nights and I had some pretty narrow shaves. God sure made a good job of taking care of me, for I felt rather sick. I wish I could tell you everything that happened, but you would never realize how things are. I got a bullet right through my left breast pocket, and it passed through my paybook and some photos. I am enclosing one of the photos that was pierced, so you can keep it as a souvenir. The pellet never touched me. A piece of shrapnel tore my pants and another chunk struck me in the instep. A shell burst in the trench where I was and nearly blinded me; I was dazed for a time but wasn’t hurt in the least.”
"Christianity is not a philosophy, not a doctrine, but life." - Elder Sophrony (Sakharov)

Offline Heorhij

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Re: Last veteran of WWI trenches dies at 111
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2009, 07:23:54 AM »
Memory Eternal.
Love never fails.

Offline Andrew21091

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Re: Last veteran of WWI trenches dies at 111
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2009, 03:01:14 PM »
Memories eternal!

Offline Ian Lazarus

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Re: Last veteran of WWI trenches dies at 111
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2009, 04:27:58 PM »
In Paradisum deducant te Angeli,

In tuo adventum suscipiate Martyres,

Et perducant te in civitatem Sanctam Ierusalem,

Chorus Angelorum te suscipiat,

Et cum Lazaro quondam paupere,

Aeternam habeas requiem.


May his memory be eternal.
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Joshua 1:9

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Last veteran of WWI trenches dies at 111
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2009, 12:30:16 AM »
Eternal be their memory!
Not all who wander are lost.