Saturday, 25 July 2009

The Last Of The Old Brigade

Harry Patch, the very last of our World War 1 veterans passed away today at the age of 111. His death comes just a week after the passing of Henry Allingham, the world's oldest man who was also a veteran.

Harry would always point out that countless Germans died in that war and he honoured them as well.

I myself have always believed that nobody wins a war - it is simply that one side loses more than the other. I wonder if Harry felt the same, he probably did. He never got over what he experienced, right to the end.

We shall not see their like again. With Harry's death passes the last link with the trenches, the rats, the mud, the stench, trench foot, trench fever, gas attacks and the millions of senseless deaths.

Only one survivor remains now in Australia.

They were a generation of men who did not realise what they were walking into. Many treated it as an adventure, a chance to go abroad. It was a war that was going to be over so quickly. It was the war to end all wars. Sadly this has not been the case.

We owe all these men a huge debt of gratitude. The best thing we can do in their name is strive for peace, an end to fighting between nations, an end to religious bigotry and hatred.

I salute Harry as I saluted Henry Allingham. All the old comrades together again. The chapter is finally closed. The book is finished. But we must never lay it completely aside, we must never forget.

I wore a tunic, a lousy khaki tunic,
And you wore your civvy clothes.
We fought and bled at Loos
While you were home on the booze
The booze that no one here knows.
Oh you were with the wenches
While we were in the trenches
Facing an angry foe.
Oh you were a-slacking
While we were attacking
The Jerry on the Menin Road.

Harry told his story in the book "The Last Fighting Tommy" - Harry Patch of the Trenches. It is still available.



  1. i missed your last post,sorry.funny really,i logged on and read that harry had died,thought i wonder if jeannette..........thanks jeannette for a lovely tribute.WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.take care,love mort xx

  2. How very sad it is that Harry has passed away, particularly so soon after Henry Allingham. May he rest in peace, finally reunited with the comrades he fought alongside all those decades ago. Love B x

  3. A nice tribute you wrote here today. Thanks for sharing. I see you belong to Club Pogo. I do too and I love it. My favorite game is Word Whomp.

  4. It is almost as if Harry wasn't going to hang around now that his old mate had gone. As you say, they're all together again. But an era is over, and it is up to us that are left to keep the memory alive.

    RIP Harry Patch, well done

  5. I hope his wise words and memories will remind us how senseless war can be; but we must honor those who have sacrificed so much. You are right--there will never be veterans like these.

  6. War is just so futile. I'm so sad that this lovely man had to carry unimaginably horrific memories with him all his life due to having to go to war. Jeannette

  7. I know he is now reunited with his old Army buddies. They are slapping each other on the back and reminiscing old war stories. Rest in peace Harry Patch.

  8. So sad to hear this today but they are all together now and having a geat catchup no doubt. It seem so strange that after all those years Harry and Hendry should die in the same week.LOve Joan

  9. I will never forget what we owe these brave men;but I wonder what their thoughts were on what our country has become. Eileen x

  10. It is very sad that Harry Patch has now died so soon after Henry Allingham. Now they will keep company, two very brave men in their last resting place. I bought Jim Harry`s book last year and he really enjoyed reading about what an ordinary man he was who had led such an extraordinary life. We will never forget what these men did for us and our country. The sacrifices they made were so great.

    Love Sandra

  11. War is so sad. I pray constantly for peace in our world. It is so senseless. I do honor our military because the do such a good job of protecting us, but it would be better yet if there were no reason to have to do so.

  12. I just read about Harry Patch on our news today.

    Hope you have a good week.

  13. Jeanette,
    I found you.I was going to the wrong blog all this time.Kept saying blog is set to private.Now Ive got some catching up to do on your blog. I always enjoy reading the,God Bless Harry Patch.May he rest in Peace,Thankyou for always stoppibg by ,

  14. Very well said, Jeannette. - Linda in DC

  15. Bless his heart and may he rest in peace. What an honorable man. Lovely tribute you've done.

  16. My father was a WWI vet. He had stories to tell of trenches and bayonets, tanks and graves, courage and mud. Unfortunately I never heard them because he died too young.


  17. Hi Jeannette
    Great tribute to these fine gentlemen ,may they rest in peace
    Love Jeanxx

  18. lovely tribute may god make sure we never forget harry and millions like him rip


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