Lance-Corporal Henry John ‘Harry’ Patch

Lance-Corporal Henry John ‘Harry’ Patch of the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry photographed in 2007. © Jim Ross. Harry Patch died in 2009 aged 111. He was the last surviving combat soldier from the First World War. He joined the 7th Battalion of the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry as an assistant gunner, arriving in France in June 1917 and fighting at Passchendaele that summer. On 22nd September a shell exploded overhead and he was badly injured by shrapnel in the groin. Three of his comrades were blown to pieces. He later said ‘…Passchendaele was a disastrous battle…thousands and thousands of young lives were lost. It makes me angry…I went back to Ypres (November 2004, aged 106) to shake the hand of Charles Kuentz, Germany’s only surviving veteran from the war. It was emotional. He is 107. We’ve had 87 years to think what war is… it’s a licence to go out and murder…’

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