17 Feb 2009

Last living veteran of the World War One

Today it is 11 year since Ernst Jünger passed away, almost 103 years old. One year ago, the 17 February 2008, a posting at this blog mentioned the still living veterans of the First World War who saw action. Most of these men have since that posting passed away, however.

Erich Kästner, Germany's last veteran, died 1 January 2008. Franz Künstler (Austria-Hungary), was the last veteran of the Central Powers. He died at age 107 in May 2008.

Three years ago, the British Government approved a National Memorial Service at Westminster Abbey to take place after the death of the last WWI veteran. The oldest WW1-veteran in Britain (and the world) is the former British RNAS (later RAF) pilot Henry Allingham, 112 years old. Henry Allingham is also the oldest man in Europe. Harry Patch, is at an age of 110 the last living British soldier who fought in the trenches. William Stone, who served in the Royal Navy in both world wars, died in January 2009, aged 108. Netherwood Hughes, 108 years old, claims he is Britain's third "forgotten" soldier, although he never saw action. An Ministry of Defence spokesman has said there was no grounds to believe Hughes was not a WWI veteran but no records proving it had been discovered.

Henry Allingham, at the time 111, "No wonder the rats survived"

The last US Army veteran to serve overseas is Frank Woodruff Buckles, 108 years old. Buckles will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery upon his death.

The last living French veteran is Pierre Picault, age 109 (almost 110). Another, Fernand Goux, died in November 2008, age 108. Despite this, Lazare Ponticelli received the French state funeral as the last poilu officially recognized by the French government on 17 March 2008.