Page last updated at 16:55 GMT, Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Norfolk woman identified as WWI survivor


Florence Green said she had had a good time in the Women's Royal Air Force

A 108-year-old woman from Norfolk has been revealed as being one of two British survivors of World War I after a researcher uncovered her records.

Former seaman Claude Choules, 108, was previously regarded as the sole British survivor of the conflict after Harry Patch died, aged 111, in July.

A researcher revealed that Florence Green, of King's Lynn, was a waitress in the Women's Royal Air Force (WRAF).

Her past was not widely known until he looked at war archives.

Archive research

Andrew Holmes, of the Gerontology Research Group, read of Mrs Green's birthday in a local newspaper.

He found her maiden name, Florence Beatrice Patterson, from birth and marriage records, and cross-checked it with WRAF records at The National Archives.

It showed she joined as a 17-year-old on 13 September 1918, two months before the armistice, and left on 18 July 1919, having served as a waitress at Narborough, Norfolk.

Speaking of her claim as a veteran, Mr Holmes said: "Of those still alive, Mr Choules served in the Navy, Canadian John Babcock was still in training in the UK and was never sent abroad and American Frank Buckles served as an ambulance driver.

Florence Green with other members of the Women's Royal Air Force
Mrs Green worked as a waitress on RAF bases in Norfolk

"So, Florence is not the only remaining veteran not to have seen action.

"A veteran is anyone who served in the Armed Forces during the war - regardless of their role, whether they were sent abroad, or whether they saw action."

London-born Gladys Powers, 109, who served with the Women's Auxiliary Corp and the Women's RAF - also as a waitress - died in Canada in 2008.

Mr Patch, recognised as the last British survivor of the trenches, fought in the Battle of Passchendaele at Ypres, during which more than 70,000 British soldiers died.

He died a week after Henry Allingham, 113, who served in the navy and the RAF.

Mr Choules, who is originally from Worcestershire, now lives in Perth, Australia.

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