[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 16 December 2005, 20:12 GMT
Honour for 107-year-old veteran
Harry Patch
Patch survived a German shell which killed three friends
A 107-year-old World War I veteran has been given an honorary degree at the university he helped build.

Harry Patch, of Wells, received an Honorary Masters from the University of Bristol, where he worked 80 years ago.

The former plumber escaped death in 1917 as a light infantry soldier when a German shrapnel shell burst overhead, killing three of his party.

He worked on the Wills Memorial Building in 1925, attending the opening by King George V and Queen Mary.

Landmark building

He remembers placing newly-minted coins under lead sheeting covering a trap door at the top of the tower during the ceremony.

"We signed our names there. The names are gone but the coins must still be there," he said.

The honorary degree was given in recognition of Mr Patch's work on the university's landmark building and his service in one of the main World War I battles at Passchendaele, Belgium.

Born in Bath in 1898, Mr Patch had a war posting in Rouen, France in 1917, but returned to England a year later after a serious shrapnel wound left him hospitalised.

He worked as a plumber until his retirement in 1961, only stopping to serve as a fireman in World War II.

He has survived his wife of 58 years and two sons.


SEE ALSO:
Cider joy for World War One vet
22 Dec 04 |  Somerset


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific