BBC Home
Explore the BBC



Last Updated: Saturday July 25 2009 12:19 GMT

WWI veteran Patch dies aged 111

Henry Patch in 2007
Henry Patch in 2007

The last British person to fight in trenches in World War I, Harry Patch, has died at the age of 111.

Mr Patch fought at the Battle of Passchendaele at Ypres in Belgium in 1917. During that battle 70,000 British soldiers were killed.

Mr Patch was 18 when he was conscripted into the army. That means he had to join the army and go to war.

Mr Patch was injured during the battle at Ypres in 1917, and when the war ended in 1918 he was still recovering.

After the war Mr Patch became a plumber. When World War II happened he was too old to be soldier and became a firefighter in Bath.

He died on Saturday 25 July 2009, just before 9am.

Another British veteran of World War I, Henry Allingham, died on Saturday 18 July 2009 aged 113. He served in the Royal Navy and the RAF in WWI.

The oldest British World War I veteran is now Claude Choules who is aged 108 and lives in Australia.

Harry Patch and Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Harry Patch and Prime Minister Gordon Brown

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: "I had the honour of meeting Harry, and I share his family's grief at the passing of a great man.

"I know that the whole nation will unite today to honour the memory, and to take pride in the generation that fought the Great War.

"The noblest of all the generations has left us, but they will never be forgotten.

"We say today with still greater force: 'We will remember them'."