Harry Patch, Britain's last survivor of the trenches of World War I, has died at the age of 111. Born the youngest of three brothers in the Somerset village of Combe Down in 1898, he put his longevity down to a lifetime of clean living.
Harry was a reluctant soldier, who "didn't want to go and fight anyone" - but could not escape Army conscription and was sent to Ypres, Belgium as a Lewis gunner assistant in 1917.
He spent four months in Belgium, taking part in the battle of Passchendaele. On 22 September, a shell exploded above his head, killing three of his close comrades. Harry was wounded by shrapnel but survived.
Harry was deeply affected by the loss of his friends, saying: "I'd taken an absolute liking to the men in the team, you could almost say love." So for Harry, 22 September was his personal remembrance day.
Back in the UK, Harry married Ada Billington in 1918 and returned to his career as a plumber. When war broke out again, in 1939, he joined the Auxilliary Fire Service, on duty for air raids in Bath, Bristol and Weston-super-Mare.
After WWII he moved his wife and two sons to Preston Grove in Yeovil and worked for ER Carter in West Henford until his retirement in 1963 - the year US President John F Kennedy was assassinated.
The world was changing fast, as Harry enjoyed his retirement, with decimalisation in 1971 and the advent of the first personal computers. Meanwhile, Harry passed his time pottering in his garden until his wife's death in 1976, aged 81.
As the 1980s arrived, Britain had its first female prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, and Harry remarried. However it was a difficult time, with the death of his son, Dennis, then that of his new wife, Jean, in 1984. His other son, Roy, died in 2002.
In 1999, Harry received the prestigious French Legion D'Honneur medal for his WWI service and began to attract media attention. He met other WWI veterans, including Henry Allingham and Bill Stone.
As the numbers of veterans dwindled, Harry's fame grew. He launched poppy appeals, spoke at events, wrote his autobiography and became an agony uncle columnist for lads' magazine FHM. From 2003 he also had a third partner, Doris, who died four years later.
At the age of 105 Harry revisited the Ypres battle field and in 2004 returned for a BBC series to meet a German veteran, Charles Kuentz. He celebrated his 111th birthday at his Wells, Somerset, care home in June 2009.
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