Claude Choules, 110, understood to be the last World War I combat veteran, died in his sleep in an Australian nursing home overnight.
“He always said that the old men make the decisions that send the young men into war,” said his son Adrian Choules.
“He used to say, if it was the other way around, and the old pollies were off fighting, then there would never be any wars.”
Choules was born in 1901 and signed up with the British Navy for the Great War at age 15.
After the war, he moved to Perth and joined the Australian Navy, working as a demolition officer at the Fremantle Harbour during World War II, making him the last veteran who served in both World Wars.
At 107, he was told by his doctors that he wouldn’t see out his next
birthday. He defied those odds when he became a super-centenarian, and
Australia’s oldest man, in March this year.
stretches back into Australian history; the past 110 years are probably
the most significant for the history of the country, and he was here
for all of that,” Adrian Choules said.
“Through his service, he developed the two important parts of his personality there, his loyalty and his conscientiousness.
loyalty to the people that were employing him, the British Government
and then the Royal Australian Navy, and he was very loyal to his family
“There was only was way to survive all
that he did, and that was to be conscientious and very careful, and by
not taking any risks.”
In 2009, Choules published a book about his life, The “Last of the Last”.