Last Known World War I Combat Veteran Dies

Originally published on May 5, 2011 11:16 am
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STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

Now let's take a moment to remember the man believed to be the last surviving combat veteran of World War I. Claude Choules died today, at a nursing home in Australia at the age of 110.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, Host:

He was born in England, he enlisted in Britain's Royal Navy at 14 and served aboard the battleship HMS Revenge. A few years ago, he recalled witnessing the surrender of the German Naval forces in 1918.

CLAUDE CHOULES: They knew they didn't have any more chance, or if they did, they'd given up hope. And it was left to us - left up to us to decide what was going to happen to them.

INSKEEP: That's Claude Choules speaking with the BBC. In later years he transferred to the Royal Australian Navy where he served in World War II. He was well over 100 years old when he put out an autobiography that, according to the publisher, made him the world's oldest first time author.

CHOULES: I've had a wonderful life, you know. If I had my time over again, I'd do exactly what I did. That's what I think of that - my life. I've got no regrets about it, no.

WERTTHEIMER: That's Claude Choules, Chuckles to his ship mates, he's believed to have outlived every other veteran of the first world war.

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