Henry (Harry) John Patch the last British surviving veteran of the Great War died on 25 July 2009 aged 111.
Photo: Harry Patch arriving at Langemark Cemetery, October 2008 [Mike Goodwin]
Harry Patch has been described by the BBC as bringing first hand memories into the 21st century of a battle that has passed into history. To read Harry’s obituary click here.
While touring the Western Front in October 2008 members of the Mackay North High School Remembrance 2008 Commemorative Tour had an unscheduled ‘bonus’ when Harry Patch arrived at Langemark Cemetery at the same time as their visit. Tour leader, teacher and FFFAIF member Mike Goodwin remembers it a being ‘a very special time for the students’. The group had a second opportunity to see Harry again at the Last Post Ceremony at Menin Gate, Ieper where Mackay North student Angela Barratt sang the Australian National Anthem as part of the service. To read about their experience click here.
Harry Patch died one week after fellow veteran Henry Allingham, aged 113, who passed away on 18 July 2009. The BBC described Henry as being the last surviving founder member of the RAF, the last man to have witnessed the Battle of Jutland and the last surviving member of the Royal Naval Air Service. To read Henry’s obituray click here. Photo’s of Henry’s funeral can be seen by clicking here.
The Families and Friends of the First AIF thanks the Australian, UK and French governments for affording Australian and British soldiers buried in mass graves at Pheasant Wood by German soldiers following the Battle of Fromelles on 19/20 July 1916 dignified individual reburials in a new CWGC cemetery at Fromelles, and applauds the joint decision to DNA test the remains at exhumation and use every reasonable method to attempt identification of each soldier.