Page last updated at 19:25 GMT, Friday, 31 July 2009 20:25 UK

Tickets issued for Patch funeral

Harry Patch
Soldiers from France, Belgium and Germany will flank the coffin

All available tickets for the funeral of WWI veteran Harry Patch at Wells Cathedral have now been issued.

Mr Patch, who was born in 1898 in Combe Down, near Bath, was Britain's last surviving soldier who fought in the trenches during the Great War.

Harry Patch died last Saturday at a care home in Wells aged 111.

Next Thursday's service will begin at noon. Three-quarters of the 1,050 tickets were allocated to personal callers at the cathedral offices.

The remainder were made available by post.

'Personal thank you'

BBC Somerset correspondent Clinton Rogers said by the time the office doors opened at 0930 BST on Friday about 400 people were queuing up outside.

Trevor Matcham, from Bath, camped out on Cathedral Green overnight to make sure he could get a ticket.

"I just wanted to come and say a personal thank you to Harry and to everybody else, all those millions of people who gave their lives to make Europe and this country the safe and free place that it is for us to live in," he said.

The Duchess of Cornwall and Duchess of Gloucester are due to attend the funeral service.

There will be spaces for 3,000 to 4,000 on the Cathedral Green to watch the funeral on big screens.

Private burial

On the morning of 6 August the coffin will begin its journey from Fletcher House care home to the cathedral at 1130 BST.

It will be flanked by six private soldiers of the Rifles Regiment, the successor to Mr Patch's Regiment, the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry.

Two private soldiers of each of the armies of Belgium, France and Germany will also be taking part.

In this way the organisers of the funeral said they hoped to symbolise Mr Patch's desire for reconciliation and his view that, "irrespective of the uniforms we wore, we were all victims".

Following the funeral service, Mr Patch's coffin will be taken from the cathedral for a private burial.



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SEE ALSO
Plaque honours WWI veteran Patch
30 Jul 09 |  Somerset
In pictures: Harry Patch
25 Jul 09 |  In Pictures
Have your say: Harry Patch
22 Mar 10 |  History

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