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/