WWI veteran Patch dies aged 111

The last British survivor of the World War I trenches, Harry Patch, has died at the age of 111.

Mr Patch was conscripted into the Army aged 18 and fought in the Battle of Passchendaele at Ypres in 1917 in which more than 70,000 British soldiers died.

He was raised in Coombe Down, near Bath, and had been living at a care home in Wells, Somerset.

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

Henry Allingham, who served in the Royal Navy and the RAF in WWI, died at the age of 113 a week ago.

Mr Patch’s biographer Richard Emden said he passed away at 0850 BST on Saturday morning.

A statement from the Fletcher House care home said: “It is with much sadness that we must announce the death of Mr Harry Patch on 25 July at the age of 111.

“Funeral arrangements are being made in accordance with Mr Patch’s wishes, and we wish to extend our deepest sympathies to his family, friends and the residents and staff of Fletcher House.”

Mr Patch served as a private at the Third Battle of Ypres – known as Passchendaele – from June to September 1917 when he was seriously injured by a shell explosion which killed three of his friends.

His friend Lesley Ross said she felt great affection towards him.

“Extremely modest, dignified gentleman, with a slightly wicked sense of humour and considerate to everybody he met. Very polite and I would sum him up as a true gentleman,” she said.

Andrew Larpent, chief executive of Somerset Care, said Mr Patch died peacefully in his bed having been unwell for some time.

“His friends and his family have been here. He just quietly slipped away at 9am this morning,” he said.

“It was how he would have wanted it, without having to be moved to hospitals but here, peacefully with his friends and carers.”


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