May 5, 2011 in Nation/World

Last World War I combat vet dies

Kristen Gelineau Associated Press
 

SYDNEY – Claude Stanley Choules, the last known combat veteran of World War I, died today at a nursing home in the Western Australia city of Perth, his family said. He was 110.

Beloved for his wry sense of humor and humble nature, the British-born Choules – nicknamed “Chuckles” by his comrades in the Australian Navy – never liked to fuss over his achievements, which included a 41-year military career and the publication of his first book at the age of 108.

Choules was born March 3, 1901, in the small British town of Pershore, Worcestershire, one of seven children.

World War I was raging when Choules began training with the British Royal Navy, just one month after he turned 14. In 1917, he joined the battleship HMS Revenge, from which he watched the 1918 surrender of the German High Seas Fleet, the main battle fleet of the German Navy during the war.

Millions died in the war, which lasted from 1914 to 1918. Choules and another Briton, Florence Green, became the war’s last known surviving service members after the death of American Frank Buckles in February, according to the Order of the First World War, a U.S.-based group that tracks veterans.

Choules was the last known surviving combatant of the war. Green, who turned 110 in February, served as a waitress in the Women’s Royal Air Force.

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