UK's last WWI soldier Harry Patch dies at 111

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London, Jul 26: Harry Patch, the last British soldier to have served in the First World War trenches, has died at the age of 111.

Patch, who was known as the Last Fighting Tommy, was the last living soldier to have fought in bloody battle of Passchendaele, at Ypres, in 1917 in which more than 70,000 troops died.

According to The Sunday Telegraph, Patch, a machine-gunner in the Duke of Cornwalls's Light Infantry, died on Saturday, Jul 18 morning at Fletcher House care home in Somerset where he was living.

The Queen paid tribute to him, saying: "I was saddened to hear of the death this morning of Harry Patch, the last British survivor or the First World War. We will never forget the bravery and enormous sacrifice of his generation, which will continue to serve as an example to us all."

He grew up in Coombe Down, near Bath, left school at 15 and trained as a plumber. He was 16 when war broke out and reached 18 just as conscription was being introduced. He joined the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry.

"I knew what it was going to be like: dirty, filthy, insanitary," he said in an interview with The Daily Telegraph. He was removed from the front line on September 22 1917, after being injured in an artillery bombardment which killed his friends.

He was too old to fight in the Second World War and worked as a sanitary engineer in American army camps in the south-west. He retired in 1963. Following his first wife's death in 1976, he married again at the age of 81. His second wife died seven years ago.

In March, Patch received the insignia of the Legion d'Honneur from the French Ambassador, Maurice Gourdault-Montagne, at his Somerset nursing home. Allingham received the same honour the following week.


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