Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Last Combat Veteran of WWI Dies

Claude Stanley Choules, the last combat veteran of World War One died earlier this week. There is only one remaining veteran of the war living in the world. According to newspaper reports, Florence Green is the only known surviving veteran of the war. Ms. Green served as a waitress in the Women’s Royal Air Force.

I wanted to share a few thoughts about them and their service to country, and the world. These two, and all veterans, should be honored for their sacrifices in their military service. The fact these two are the oldest surviving members is interesting, but as Mr. Choules once said, his secret to a long life was just “keep breathing.”

He made a career out of the military, first entering during the Great War at age 14. He then served in the Navy through World War II and finally retired in 1956.

I have never met Mr. Choules. In fact, I had never heard of him until I read his death announcements. It seems, though, appropriate to recognize his service and sacrifice to insure world peace. Thank you Mr. Choules.

From a historian’s perspective, I am happy to note that he wrote his memoirs, titled The Last of the Last. A brief example from the pages of his autobiography describes witnessing the surrender of the German High Seas Fleet in 1918. It may prove to be an interesting book.

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