Last Fighting Tommy Dies At 111

(Telegraph) – HARRY PATCH, the last British soldier to have served in the First World War trenches, has died at the age of 111.

Harry Patch

Harry Patch

Mr Patch, who was known as the Last Fighting Tommy, was the last living soldier to have fought in the bloody battle of Passchendaele, at Ypres, in 1917 — in which more than 70,000 troops died.

The veteran’s death follows that of Henry Allingham, also a veteran of the Great War, who died on July 18 at the age of 113.

Mr Patch, who was a machine-gunner in the Duke of Cornwalls’s Light Infantry, died on Saturday morning at Fletcher House care home, in Somerset, where he was living.

The Prince of Wales was among the first to pay tribute to Mr Patch, telling the BBC: ‘The Great War is a chapter in our history we must never forget, so many sacrifices were made, so many young lives lost. So today nothing could give me greater pride than paying tribute to Harry Patch from Somerset.

‘Harry was involved in numerous bouts of heavy fighting on the front line but amazingly remained unscathed for a while. Tragically, one night in September 1917, when in the morass in the Ypres Salient, a German shrapnel shell burst over-head badly wounding Harry — and killing three of his closest friends.

‘In spite of the comparatively short time that he served with the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, Harry always cherished the extraordinary camaraderie that the appalling conditions engendered in the battalion and remained loyal to the end.’

Chief Executive of Somerset Care, Andrew Larpent, said Mr Patch had been unwell for some time and had died peacefully in his bed.


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