Claude Stanley Choules’ Death Moves The Great War Towards Dead History
Last Thursday, British-born Choules – he was born on March 3, 1901, in Pershore, Worcestershire – the last man to fight in the Great War, died in Perth. He was 110.
He is survived by one other veteran of that bloody war: British woman Florence Green. She did not see action but served with the Women’s RAF (WRAF) in 1918. When she dies, how will the living remember the 658,700 British people who died in World War 1, not to forget the 359,150 missing and the 2,032,150 wounded? Harry Patch was one of the oldest. He died not long ago. He said:
Opposite my bedroom there is a window and there is a light over the top. Now [when the staff go into that room] they put the light on. If I was half asleep – the light coming on was the flash of a bomb. That flash brought it all back. For eighty years I’ve never watched a war film, I never spoke of it, not to my wife. For six years, I’ve been here [in the nursing home]. Six years it’s been nothing but World War One. As I say, World War One is history, it isn’t news. Forget it.
Nearly 8million died in World War 1. How will they be remembered when the last survivor dies..?