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Author Topic: Last WW1 Combat Vet dies..  (Read 603 times)

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Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Last WW1 Combat Vet dies..
« on: June 14, 2011, 09:56:38 PM »

Offline Wyrd

Re: Last WW1 Combat Vet dies..
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2011, 10:06:17 PM »
I was watching something on this on the news. He fought in one of the most brutal wars ever fought and lived to see the world change into so much. May he rest in peace.

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: Last WW1 Combat Vet dies..
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2011, 10:55:12 PM »
When you think about all the things we have today that weren't in existence when he was born it's fantastic.  Radio broadcasts didn't exist back then and look at how we communicate today.  What took seconds to gett around the world today would have taken months when he was an infant.  Imagine having a friend who lives thousands of miles away and waiting a month for a letter to arrive in the mail.

Offline Wyrd

Re: Last WW1 Combat Vet dies..
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2011, 10:58:19 PM »
It really is amazing. It's weird for me to think that the world will now never hear a first person account of the Great war again.

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Re: Last WW1 Combat Vet dies..
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2011, 02:56:18 PM »
He's probably been featured in any number of WWI documentaries.  I'm sure the producers realized that he was a living treasure.

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Last WW1 Combat Vet dies..
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2011, 03:44:49 PM »
It really is amazing. It's weird for me to think that the world will now never hear a first person account of the Great war again.

The is one OTHER vet.. but she was a nurse if I recall right. He was the last of the Combat Vets.

Offline Malefique

Re: Last WW1 Combat Vet dies..
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2011, 05:53:44 AM »
Makes you realise how much we should be treasuring those other veterans - WWII ones.  My own grandfather was invalided out of the forces after being wounded at Dunkirk, but after he died I realised I was the only one of his grandkids who had listened to him talk long enough to know that.  Hell, even my mother and her siblings didn't know.  Sad world when being old is regarded as being boring - these people are history with legs (and voices!).

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Last WW1 Combat Vet dies..
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2011, 04:28:23 PM »
Makes you realise how much we should be treasuring those other veterans - WWII ones.  My own grandfather was invalided out of the forces after being wounded at Dunkirk, but after he died I realised I was the only one of his grandkids who had listened to him talk long enough to know that.  Hell, even my mother and her siblings didn't know.  Sad world when being old is regarded as being boring - these people are history with legs (and voices!).

I got two great-uncles who both served in WW2. Buck was shot down over France on his 48th mission and Earl served in Burma.. no one in the family has talked to them in detail about what they did and now we're about to lose that point of our family history. I've pushd my dad to talk to them several times as well as other members of the family that live close to them.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Last WW1 Combat Vet dies..
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2011, 05:41:50 PM »
I visited London's Imperial War Museum last year and saw authentic tanks, bombs and cannon from WW1 (yes, WW2 also) as well as footage of those moments when people would "go over the top" of the trenches, often to be gunned down within a few seconds or minutes. It's just about incredible; that whole era was both heroic (in a way) and very sad, because of the senseless wasting of human lives.

It's a very fascinating epoch, both before, during and after the war, and I've read a good deal about it and watched interviews and newsreel footage with people who lived through it. The circumstances in the trenches - or on the Eastern front - make you feel as if this is some travelogue from hell. Reading Forgotten Voices of the Great War  - a superb collection of interview statements and stories culled from the IWM's oral history archive, I came across a guy who had been on the Western front in 1917 saying something like "often the only thing you could get to drink was rain water gathering in shrapnel crater pools. They could contain anything - quite likely parts of a human body".  :'( No wonder they got dysentery and TB!
« Last Edit: June 16, 2011, 05:43:50 PM by gaggedLouise »

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Last WW1 Combat Vet dies..
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2011, 06:18:13 PM »
What's amazing about 1914 too is how fast things escalated and changed a decent, civilized state of peace into all-out war and an everyday routine where the war was the overwhelming fact. In just a few weeks, the killing of a Habsburg prince whom very few people had ever heard about beyond, at most, his name, led to a full European war. I mean, considering the state of communications back then and how many people actually wanted peace, that's incredible. The people in Belgrade who put together a reply to the Austrian ultimatum -. one of the key moments on the path to war - actually wrote it in longhand, with many crossings-out and last-minute corrections because they had different ideas of how to reply and what they needed to hide. They didn't even get a clean fair copy typed out - too hard up for time - and sent a man on foot with it (not even on a horse!) The Austrian minister who received the reply didn't get fooled by the shoddy appearance of the note though; after he'd read it he dubbed it "a masterpiece of diplomatic thinking, one of the shrewdest,  most impressive replies I have ever seen" - and he repeated that assessment twenty years later. Today nobody would have wanted to reply under those communications conditions.

It went incredibly fast - from an uncommonly hot summer into a deafening war. The idea of war may have been in the air but pretty much no one imagined it would become that kind of war. If you're looking for a razor sharp edge of transition in history, this is it.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2011, 09:14:27 PM by gaggedLouise »

Offline NotoriusBEN

Re: Last WW1 Combat Vet dies..
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2011, 10:25:45 PM »
I had great grandparents that fought in ww1 and ww2. They are dead now. I know that one of them was in the 2nd Battle of the Marne in WW1, and the other was among the fourth or fifth landings in Normandy. They werent really willing to talk about those times. I never enlisted in the Service myself, and since I didnt, I never felt I had the right to ask them questions about their experiences in Europe.

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Last WW1 Combat Vet dies..
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2011, 02:39:32 PM »
My father gave me my grandfather's journal that he wrote when he went across the Atlantic with 'Blackjack' Pershing's forces. He was a musician. I got to read it before I went into service. It was interesting.