America’s Last Surviving Veteran of World War I Dies at 110 Years Old

March 2, 2011
Advertisement

imageThe last ever surviving U.S. veteran of World War I has died aged 110.

Frank Buckles, who lied about his age to get into uniform during the war, also survived being a civilian POW in the Philippines in World War II.

He died peacefully of natural causes on Sunday at his home in Charles Town having just hit the 110 milestone at the beginning of the month.

At the time he had been advocating for a national memorial honouring veterans of the Great War in Washington, D.C.

Advertisement

When asked what it felt like to be the last of his kind he said: ‘I realized that somebody had to be, and it was me. Without a doubt I would do it all over again.’

Born in Missouri in 1901 and raised in Oklahoma, Buckles visited a string of military recruiters after the United States entered the ‘war to end all wars’ in April 1917.

He was repeatedly rejected before convincing an Army captain he was 18. He was only 16 and a half at the time.

He said: ‘A boy of (that age), he’s not afraid of anything. He wants to get in there.’

More than 4.7 million people joined the U.S. military from 1917-18.

As of spring 2007, only three were still alive, according to a tally by the Department of Veterans Affairs: Buckles, J. Russell Coffey of Ohio and Harry Richard Landis of Florida.

The dwindling roster prompted a flurry of public interest, and Buckles went to Washington in May 2007 to serve as grand marshal of the national Memorial Day parade.

Coffey died on 20 December, 2007, at age 109, while Landis died on 4 February, 2008, at 108.

Unlike Buckles, those two men were still in basic training in the United States when the war ended and did not make it overseas.

The last known Canadian veteran of the war, John Babcock of Spokane, Washington, died in February 2010.

Buckles served in England and France, working mainly as a driver and a warehouse clerk. The fact he did not see combat did not diminish his service.

He said: ‘Didn’t I make every effort?’

In 1941, while on business in the Philippines, Buckles was captured by the Japanese. He spent three and a half years in prison camps.

He has previously spoken of his trouble getting into the military, saying: ‘I went to the state fair up in Wichita, Kansas, and while there, went to the recruiting station for the Marine Corps.

‘The nice Marine sergeant said I was too young when I gave my age as 18, said I had to be 21.’

He then returned a week later.

‘I went back to the recruiting sergeant, and this time I was 21,’ he said. ‘I passed the inspection … but he told me I just wasn’t heavy enough.’

Then he tried the Navy, whose recruiter told Buckles he was flat-footed but he still did not quit.

In Oklahoma City, an Army captain demanded a birth certificate though Buckles told him: ‘I said birth certificates were not made in Missouri when I was born, that the record was in a family Bible. I said, “You don’t want me to bring the family Bible down, do you?” He said, “OK, we’ll take you”.

‘I was never actually looking for adventure. It just came to me.’

Source

CDFuneralNews

CDFuneralNews

ConnectingDirectors.com is the leading online daily publication for funeral professionals with a reader base of over 45,000 of the most elite and forward-thinking professionals in the profession. With ConnectingDirectors.com we have created a global community through an online platform allowing funeral professionals to Stay Current. Stay Informed and Stay Elite.
CDFuneralNews
Advertisement

You may be interested

Homesteaders: A Deep Dive | FUNERAL hustle 012
FUNERAL Hustle
334 views
FUNERAL Hustle
334 views

Homesteaders: A Deep Dive | FUNERAL hustle 012

CDFuneralNews - September 14, 2017

Ryan heads to Homesteaders Life Company HQ to discuss their future partnership with Homesteaders and why and how this partnership…

FrontRunner Professional Announces Ultimate ‘DIY’ Funeral Home Website Platform
Funeral Industry Press Releases
130 views
Funeral Industry Press Releases
130 views

FrontRunner Professional Announces Ultimate ‘DIY’ Funeral Home Website Platform

CDFuneralNews - September 14, 2017

Today FrontRunner Professional announced the release of it’s brand new website platform, marking a major change for the entire death…

Matthews Aurora Funeral Solutions Shares Integration Update
Funeral Industry Press Releases
78 views
Funeral Industry Press Releases
78 views

Matthews Aurora Funeral Solutions Shares Integration Update

CDFuneralNews - September 14, 2017

PITTSBURGH, PA -- Matthews Aurora Funeral Solutions today announced an update of key activities for its ongoing integration of Aurora…

Comments