31 December 2006

Over 88 years after WWI ended there are still over 50 known veterans alive across the world. Wikipedia lists 53 veterans from the UK(7), France(8), Germany(9), US(10), Italy(10), Canada(4), Poland (3), Australia and Romania (One each).

Not all would have seen combat - at least one of the British survivors was in training in November 1918. Even so I was surprised to see so many veterans still alive so long after the war’s end. Given that there were nearly 100 alive this time last year, it will not be long before they are all gone.


tom watson said...

I met our oldest veteran this year. Henry Allingham - a truly wise and humble human being.

He regailed us with stories about Charlie Chaplin and life in the trenches. He said to me that he couldn't believe that he'd got all "this attention, just for staying alive".

Thankfully, many of the remaining surviviors have had their biographies captured for future generations.

jams o donnell said...

I envy you for having the opportunity to meet Henry Allingham, Tom!

I am glad too that the veterans' stories have been recorded for posterity. It is fortunate that their experiences. What they saw should never be forgotten. Hopefully one day we as a species will learn from them and change our ways.

I know that sounds pretty naive but unless we do we have no future.