Thursday, August 06, 2009

Then There Were Three

Today, Harry Patch was laid to rest at Wells Cathedral in Somerset. The BBC have some excellent coverage of the man and his life and views as the last British survivor of the First World War. I remember as a child, watching the annual parade of veterans on "poppy day" and noticing, as I grew older, that the WWI group grew smaller each year. Next year it will no longer exist at all.

There are now only three living Great War veterans. Australian navy volunteer Claude Choules, Canadian Jack Babcock (who claims he isn't as worthy of commendation because he never got to fight) and American Frank Buckles. Choules and Buckles are 108, Babcock is 109.

Patch became an outspoken critic of warfare, often wrestling with the painful memories his views recalled.

If I should die, think only this of me: That there's some corner of a foreign field That is forever England. There shall be In that rich earth a richer dust concealed; A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware, Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam, A body of England's, breathing English air, Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home. - Robert Brooke

1 comment:

PM Summer said...

May the faithful departed rest in Light Eternal.