Page last updated at 11:45 GMT, Thursday, 6 November 2008

World War I veteran dies aged 108

Syd Lucas
Mr Lucas led the annual Anzac Day parade in his adopted town

One of the five remaining veterans of World War I has died at the age of 108, it has been announced.

Sydney Maurice Lucas was born in Leicester on 21 September 1900. He was among the last batch of conscripts to be called up in 1918.

The Armistice meant he escaped the horror of the trenches but went on to serve in World War II.

He died on 4 November in his home town near Melbourne in Australia where he moved in 1928.

He was just 17 when he was drafted into the Sherwood Foresters in August 1918.

Better life

He was trained in Derby and then Catterick in Yorkshire but when the war ended he was sent home before he had to leave for France.

In 1928 he, like many other Britons, emigrated to Australia in search of a better life.

In June 1940 he volunteered for the Australian army and was posted to a machine gun company.

He sailed to Palestine where Australian forces were being prepared to travel to Greece which had been invaded by German and Italian troops.

Anzac service

But, he was again destined not to see active service after an attack of appendicitis prevented him travelling with his battalion which left without him in April 1941.

He returned to Australia on board the liner Queen Mary, as part of an operation guarding Italian and German prisoners of war and was discharged from the army in November 1941, on the grounds of ill health.

For many years he led the local Anzac Day parade in his home town on the Mornington Peninsula near Melbourne.

He attributed his long life to a moderate consumption of alcohol.



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Obituary: Syd Lucas
06 Nov 08 |  UK

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