Dy’er Sez: Mr. Patch was one of the last remaining links to the WW 1 era. In fact (as the following story points out) there are no German or French vets left, and only one American (Frank Buckles, aged 108) vet left alive, and Harry Patch was the last man left who actually fought in the trenches. They were first hand witnesses to a terrible time in our global history, a time that is oft forgotten by most in our modern era. I, for one, will not forget.
I have a personal short list of people whom I would like to have long dinner with in the afterlife (if there is one). I don’t know much about the man, but from what little I have been able to gather, I think Mr. Patch just made that list.
Rest in peace, Mr. Patch.
Story from AP:
Last UK veteran of WWI trench battles dies at 111
By ROBERT BARR, Associated Press Writer
LONDON – Harry Patch, Britain’s last survivor of the trenches of World War I, was a reluctant soldier who became a powerful eyewitness to the horror of war, and a symbol of a lost generation.
Patch, who died Saturday at 111, was wounded in 1917 in the Battle of Passchendaele, which he remembered as “mud, mud and more mud mixed together with blood.”
“Anyone who tells you that in the trenches they weren’t scared, he’s a damned liar: you were scared all the time,” Patch was quoted as saying in a book, “The Last Fighting Tommy,” written with historian Richard van Emden.
Patch was one of the last living links to “the war to end all wars,” which killed about 20 million people in years of fighting between the Allied Powers — including Britain, France and the United States — and Germany and its allies. The Ministry of Defense said he was the last soldier of any nationality to have fought in the brutal trench warfare that has become the enduring image of the conflict.
- WW1 sketches show soldier’s life in trenches (telegraph.co.uk)