06 June 2009

Last of the diggers

John Campbell “Jack” Ross, Australia's last remaining World War I veteran, has died, aged 110. At the time of his death he was also Australia’s oldest man. According to his obituary in The Age he died peacefully in his sleep at the Golden Oaks Nursing Home in the central Victorian city of Bendigoon 3 June.

Mr Ross enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in January, 1918 and trained at the wireless training school before he was posted to the 1st Battalion at Broadmeadows camp in Victoria. However, the war ended before he could be posted overseas.

He was awarded the 80th Anniversary Armistice Remembrance medal in 1998 to commemorate the end of WWI. He also received the Centenary Medal for his contribution to Australian society in the 100 years since federation.

According to the BBC Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd Kevin Rudd paid tribute to Mr Ross, saying Australia "owes so much to this brave war generation...Today [Wednesday] we mourn the death of Jack Ross...I ask that we also reflect on the service and sacrifice of the 417,000 Australians who served our nation during World War I and the 61,000 who gave their lives,".

There are now just five WWI veterans alive:

Henry Allingham, Harry Patch, Claude Choules (British although Choules, the only veteran also to serve in WWII, lives in Australia)

John Babcock (Canadian but resident in the USA)

Frank Buckles (American)


Kay Dennison said...

What a lovely tribute -- thanks!!!!!

jams o donnell said...

Thanks Kay. It won't be long before they have all passed.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

So sad. The world will be poorer when they have all gone.

Ardent said...

A very dignified man. He did not show his age.
Not only did he serve in WWI, but in the photo in the AGE newspaper he is wearing an Essendon (Bombers) football scarve. These old men had good taste.

jams o donnell said...

Definitely Welshcakes

Ah Ardent.. I aqm not au fait with Aussie Rules football

Mojo said...

Wow... those guys are hanging in there aren't they? WWI's been over for better than 90 years, which means they've outlasted a lot of folks that weren't even born when they were in service.

jams o donnell said...

THey certainly are but sadly they will all be gone in a couple of years.