Harry Patch, 111
It had to happen, just a matter of time.
I felt saddened seeing the report on the news. Especially about the stuff that he had not talked about to anyone until a few years ago.
Most of them didn't like to talk about the horrors - whilst doing my first degree I interviewed and taped about 20 WW1 vets; most of them would talk about the comradeship; the conditions, food, training and they'd not want to remember the horror... though,I did get some horrific stories off one or two. The vast majority of the blokes I spoke to were either in the 'St Helens Pals battalion (Kings Liverpool Regt) or the Lancashire Fusiliers... all dead now. Cost me a few bottles of rum... but it was a privilage
I've still got one ot two of the cassestte tapes.
BTW there is still one WW1 British forces vet alive ... though he never saw the trenches; he was in the navy. I think he's now in Australia
To Harry, a kind, gentle man (with a wicked sense of humour!) who saw the horrors of the Western Front first-hand, I salute you.
Lest we forget
Well said, Kaz.
I had a fantastic artifact loaned to me about a year back when I was teaching Genealogy - I was talking about tracing military records; specifically WW1 and a student told me she had an old diary.
She brought it in to show me and blow me if it wasn't the dairy of a battalion Colonel of the Durham Light Infantry - it was marvelous. It told the day to day story of the battalion from Belgium 1915 right the way through to Russia 1919.
There were accounts of battles, casualties, reprimands, promotions etc... day to day life in the trenches
The saddest bit was the first page where the old man had dedicated the diary to the boys under his command - there were two pictures. The original officers in the battalion 1914 and by each one was inscribed either KIA; Wo or LN... Killed in action; wounded; Lost his Nerve... I think out of 30 officers only two did not have some sort of initial... Then there was the second photo - the old guys wife who died in the Flu epidemic of 1919.
I had it in my possession for about a month and copied as much as I could... but I had to give it back in the end. I told the student that it was a document of special historical significance and she should get it to a museum as soon as she could... I don't know what happened to it
Hasn't SVT got his great grandad's trench diary?
I've got my step grandfather's injury tag and blood stained trench map. Lucky for him, he was only injured at the Somme and came back home. My gt uncle didn't make it through Arras, only has his name on a memorial.
Harry Patch's book is a great read, nice that it doesn't dwell throughout on WWI but covers the rest of his life in civvy street afterwards. He seemed like a nice old chap. Wasn't there talk a while back of giving the last survivor a state funeral?
Fair enough. Hope he gets a good send off.
This diary had copies of letters he'd sent home and received; maps; tickets to parties all sorts... I think most of the book was exercise books that had been rebound.
My family lost two that I know of... one a lad of 17 (Alex Bowman) He'd joined the Kings Liverpool Regt on his brother's birth certificate at 15 and was killed the first day of the Somme. No known grave... he's on the Theipville memorial
The other one was on my mum's side her great uncle Seamus Tierny - he was an interesting character - he had to leave Ireland in 1911 because of 'Fenian activities' (Burning down police stations) ... went to Australia joined the Australian Army and was killed Gallipoli fighting for the British Empire he despised (I've still got his picture)
I lost all the stuff on my dad's side of the family when my Granny's house was broken into after my Grandad died and whilst she was staying at her sister's house after the funeral- they got his medals, his brothers medals and ripped up their service records...
I did "November Ceremonies" when I was in the Navy. It's about the only time I've not cried, although there were lots of lump in throat times. The last Boer war veteran was there, which was kind of cool!
I was able to bob down and pick up 2 poppy petals after the first Albert Hall service. One for Percy in WWI and one for my uncle Cyril who was killed in Burma in 1944.
Rattler's going to Wootton Bassett on Tuesday as his boss's son was killed in Afghanistan last week
Corinthian wrote (see)
Most of them didn't like to talk about the horrors - whilst doing my first degree I interviewed and taped about 20 WW1 vets;
I thought you WERE one Corinth?
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