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Alizon Device
Saturday, July 25th, 2009, 06:28 PM
In what is truly the end of an era, the last British Tommy who served in the trenches of World War One has died, aged 111.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8168691.stm

This is the news headline in Britain this evening, rightly so IMO, even though the war was nothing but a tragic waste of life and time.

What is more tragic, though, is the contrast between this event and the death last year of the last German WWI veteran...
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-509925/Last-German-soldier-fight-WWI-dies-fanfare-survived-Britons.html



The last German veteran of the First World War has died without fanfare or recognition at his home in Hanover aged 107.

Erich Kaestner's passing went unrecorded on New Year's Day and was revealed only in a remembrance notice published by his family.

Shame on the German Government!

Renwein
Sunday, July 26th, 2009, 09:07 PM
In what is truly the end of an era, the last British Tommy who served in the trenches of World War One has died, aged 111.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8168691.stm

This is the news headline in Britain this evening, rightly so IMO, even though the war was nothing but a tragic waste of life and time.

Yes, it was always impressed on me at school what an outlook-changing event WWI was to the 'western world' - a cause for loss of faith in god, rejection of previous values (ie, it was no longer seen as 'honourable' to die for you country etc. by the people because of the way the troops were wasted for nothing by the ruling classes), and the ushering in of a more cynical/nihilistic time, as a result of the pointlessness of it all. As a result and als,o it directly lead to the collapse of the British empire, WWII, & the general demise of our societies... (some people as a result of the war tried to start something modern and new to stop it, but they failed and here we are).

It's also worth bearing in mind that the older generation (70+) are the last to grow in and experience a 'white' Britain, and with them dies that world and it's foundations. You can see the difference in attitude when people talk about the 'racist old people' and how good it is that their views are dying with them, which is an abhorrent way to view the ancestors, IMO. (Not assigning those views to any of Patch or anyone of those veterans in particular, but the general population of that time).

Anyway, he seemed to be in reasonble health for his age and compos-mentis up to the end, so, a good way to go out, as far as they come.


What is more tragic, though, is the contrast between this event and the death last year of the last German WWI veteran...
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-509925/Last-German-soldier-fight-WWI-dies-fanfare-survived-Britons.html
Shame on the German Government!

I've never read much about what the German attitude to WWI is, do they spend a lot of time on it in schools etc? what is the general attitude toward it? I would imagine most of the time is eaten up by discussions of WWII, 'guilt' about that etc. and WWI is kinda forgotten.

Alizon Device
Sunday, July 26th, 2009, 09:32 PM
I've never read much about what the German attitude to WWI is, do they spend a lot of time on it in schools etc? what is the general attitude toward it? I would imagine most of the time is eaten up by discussions of WWII, 'guilt' about that etc. and WWI is kinda forgotten.
Judging by the shunning and cynical disrespect of the present German 'System' towards their last WWI hero, I can only assume that German schoolchildren are being forcefed the same guilt trip for WWI as they are for WWII.

Even if the German Government totally disagrees with the leaderships which existed at the time of the 2 wars, to treat their loyal, brave servicemen, who were fighting for Germany - not an ideology, but a country, with such disdain is nothing short of contemptible.
Treasonous, even!

Sigurd
Monday, July 27th, 2009, 12:32 AM
Strange ... if I recall correctly, I read the other week that an English man became the world's oldest man. If I recall correctly, it was stated that he was also a WWI veteran, and that he was one of only three surviving veterans of WWI.

In a sudden turn of fate, this one who died so most recently is now supposedly the last WWI soldier of Britain? Without us hearing about either of the other two having had to die within the remarkable timespan of one week - surely this would have been all across the news, especially when concerning the oldest man in the world.

It is a shame that yet another veteran of WWI has passed on, as it marks indeed the coming end of an Era, and he should gladly be remembered duly for his courage --- but in either instance, the press should be a little more careful to research more correctly. ;)

Alizon Device
Monday, July 27th, 2009, 01:14 AM
Strange ... if I recall correctly, I read the other week that an English man became the world's oldest man. If I recall correctly, it was stated that he was also a WWI veteran, and that he was one of only three surviving veterans of WWI.
Maybe you read it at GdV, where I reported that Henry Allingham, the World's Oldest man, and coincidentally a WWI veteran had died.

Mr. Patch was the last veteran of WWI to leave this mortal coil, whether Siggy likes it, or not, I'm afraid. :D

I believe that there is now only one witness to the horror of the trenches, and that he is... oh no!... a Frenchman.

Sigurd
Monday, July 27th, 2009, 04:06 AM
Maybe you read it at GdV, where I reported that Henry Allingham, the World's Oldest man, and coincidentally a WWI veteran had died.

No - I hadn't noticed! I must have noticed his becoming the World's Oldest man just one or two days before his death then! :-O


Mr. Patch was the last veteran of WWI to leave this mortal coil, whether Siggy likes it, or not, I'm afraid. :D

What about Claude Choules (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claude_Choules)? I believe he is still alive and well at 108 years of age. ;)


I believe that there is now only one witness to the horror of the trenches, and that he is... oh no!... a Frenchman.

The last who witnessed the horror of the trenches - yes, this would appear to be true. But last living British WWI veteran remains Claude Choules, even with the death of Mr. Patch and Mr. Allingham.

Where is the catch? Well - the cosmetic error there is: Mr. Choules was a seaman and thus did not see the trenches. :P

Sigurd
Monday, July 27th, 2009, 04:15 AM
Also, on another note: Erich Kästner was not the last surviving German veteran of World War I. That would have been Franz Künstler (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_Künstler), who lived on till late May 2008.

Here the catch is that Künstler was an ethnic German, but born in Hungary as he was a Banat German. He thus fought for Austria-Hungary in World War I, and for Hungary in World War II, and only became a German national in 1946. True to his roots, he had always considered himself as a German, even before he became German national.

This may Kästner the last surviving veteran who actually fought for Germany, but Künstler remained the last surviving veteran who was of German ethnicity and nationality until his death later that same year. ;)

Alizon Device
Monday, July 27th, 2009, 09:54 PM
Where is the catch? Well - the cosmetic error there is: Mr. Choules was a seaman and thus did not see the trenches. :P
Claude Choules may have been born in Britain, but he served in the Australian Armed Forces.

Mr. Patch was the last veteran of WWI to leave this mortal coil, whether Siggy likes it, or not, I'm afraid

I meant 'British veteran'. I didn't write it because that's what this thread is about, and you know how I hate things going off topic. :P

Otherwise, I would also have mentioned the Canadian, John Babcock (109).

He is the last Canadian First World War veteran. Placed with the Young Soldiers Battalion in 1917 and later transferred to Britain where he trained until the end of the war.

Moved to United States in 20s, where he joined the US Army and eventually became an electrician.

Resurgam
Tuesday, July 28th, 2009, 05:09 AM
Reminds me about the news stories on Confederate widows that still keep popping up over here after almost a century and a half...

Gardisten
Tuesday, July 28th, 2009, 06:15 AM
Strange ... if I recall correctly, I read the other week that an English man became the world's oldest man. If I recall correctly, it was stated that he was also a WWI veteran, and that he was one of only three surviving veterans of WWI.

In a sudden turn of fate, this one who died so most recently is now supposedly the last WWI soldier of Britain? Without us hearing about either of the other two having had to die within the remarkable timespan of one week - surely this would have been all across the news, especially when concerning the oldest man in the world.

It is a shame that yet another veteran of WWI has passed on, as it marks indeed the coming end of an Era, and he should gladly be remembered duly for his courage --- but in either instance, the press should be a little more careful to research more correctly. ;)
Allingham remained the oldest man for about two weeks before he passed, and you are correct about Choules--he is the last British veteran. The manner in which the media reported Patch's death was not fully accurate: he was the last British infantryman.

Alizon Device
Tuesday, July 28th, 2009, 11:11 PM
you are correct about Choules--he is the last British veteran.
I can only find references for him serving in the Australian armed forces, which would make him British, but not a member of the British armed forces, thus not a British WWI veteran, surely. :??:

Sigurd
Wednesday, July 29th, 2009, 12:27 AM
Claude Choules may have been born in Britain, but he served in the Australian Armed Forces.


I can only find references for him serving in the Australian armed forces, which would make him British, but not a member of the British armed forces, thus not a British WWI veteran, surely.

Sometimes, my friend, a quick search on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claude_Choules) helps. ;)

It is indeed correct that he served in the Australian Armed Forces, actually the Royal Australian Navy. But that was his service in the Second World War.

In the first world war, he fought for the British Armed Forces, more specifically the Royal Navy. So, I am afraid, that makes him the last living British First World War veteran.

His Wikipedia article also states that he did not move to Australia until 1926, further supporting this notion.

Alizon Device
Wednesday, July 29th, 2009, 01:43 AM
Well, ok, mate. :tired, weary and disillusioned emoticon:

The BBC, Reuters, Channel 4, the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Times Obituary and Radio 4 organisations were wrong.

And Sigurd was right!

:bravo

Sigurd
Wednesday, July 29th, 2009, 03:35 AM
And Sigurd was right!

:bravo

Of course I was. Siggy Boy sees all, hears all and is thus omniscient. This is why some take the LORD's name in vain and call me "God". You can call me Sigurd. :wsg