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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 October 2005, 02:56 GMT 03:56 UK
Final Australia WWI veteran dies
William Evan Allan
Allan served in the navy for 34 years
The last Australian veteran to see active service in World War I has died, aged 106.

William Evan Allan joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1914, aged only 14.

He served on a cruiser, HMAS Encounter, until 1918, escorting troop convoys and tracking German warships. He remained in the navy for 34 years.

Mr Allan, who also saw active service in World War II and retired with the rank of lieutenant, will be given a state funeral in Melbourne.

Born in the New South Wales town of Bega in 1899, Mr Allan enlisted at the start of World War I and served as an able seaman from 1915.

William Evan Allan
He was only 14 when he signed up
The HMAS Encounter sailed in the Pacific and Indian oceans.

Mr Allan remained in the navy until 1947, and was the only surviving Australian veteran of both world wars.

He spent much of World War II aboard the cruiser HMAS Australia, but according to friends was reluctant to talk about his experiences.

Australia's Minister for Veterans Affairs, De-Anne Kelly, said his death meant an entire generation who left Australia to defend their nation and the British Empire had been lost.

One Australian WWI veteran is still living, John Campbell Ross, 106, but although he enlisted in 1918 he never saw active service.

Five survivors of the war are believed to be still alive in Britain.

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