28 February 2011

Last US veteran of WWI dies

I have been tracking the passing of WWI veterans here since 2007. Yesterday saw the death of the last US veteran, Frank Buckles. He was 110 (thanks to Steve at The Yellow Something Something for drawing my attention to the news).

Buckles was born in Missouri in 1901. He enlisted in the United States Army in August 1917 when aged 16 (Like my father he lied about his age to join the services). He served in England and France, driving ambulances and motorbikes. After the Armistice he escorted prisoners of war back to Germany and was discharged in 1920.

In the 1940s, Buckles worked for a shipping company in the Philippines. He was interned by the Japanese in 1942 spending over three years in the Los Banos Camp in Manila. He was rescued on February 23, 1945.

He died of natural causes yesterday, 26 days after his 110th birthday.

Rest in Peace

There are now just two WWI veterans alive, both British: Claude Choules (now resident in Australia) who served in the Royal Navy and Florence Green who served in the WRAF as a waitress.


Anonymous said...

I've just heard the news and it's heartbreaking. But he led a very long and fulfilling life.

I always hoped he could make it to 2014, the centennial. It would be awesome if one of the veterans could. I'm not sure that's ever been done for any conflict, though.

jams o donnell said...

A sad loss anonymous b u t not unexpected given his age.

It is not imposible that one of the surbivors will still be with us in August 2014.

Knatolee said...

Wow, and he aged well!

Steve Bates said...

Thanks for the memorial post, jams. Such an age is hard to imagine, in either sense of the word "age".

jams o donnell said...

He had a good innings Knatolee. That said his death is a loss

It truly is the en d of an era for the US Steve. Very soon WWI will truly pas into history

Anonymous said...

I can't help wondering if there's someone somewhere, besides Choules and Green, who could be undocumented. Japan had a part in WWI and they're known for longevity. Or maybe someone in South America or Africa where records aren't too good. Not sure how large their roles in the war were, however.

I think after the last two pass someone else will make a claim.

jams o donnell said...

There could well be Anonymous.Whether any claims can be verified or not remains to be seen.

A Brazilian was "discovered " a few years ago. He is listed as a WWI-era vett on the lists on Wikipedia.

I have every reason to think these listts are as reliable as they can be. The people interested are pretty thorough