Dig­ger hates com­bat

Last WWI vet­eran cel­e­brates 110th birth­day

Townsville Bulletin - - National Snapshot -

WA

A WEST Aus­tralian man be­lieved to be the world’s last sur­viv­ing WWI com­bat vet­eran hated war and only marched in An­zac Day pa­rades when or­dered to.

Claude Choules cel­e­brated his 110th birth­day in Perth yes­ter­day.

He’s the last known male sur­vivor of more than 70 mil­lion mil­i­tary per­son­nel dur­ing WWI.

Born in Eng­land in 1901, Mr Choules served with Bri­tain’s Royal Navy on­board the HMS Im­preg­nable in 1916 aged 15.

He joined the bat­tle­ship HMS Re­venge in 1917 and wit­nessed the sur­ren­der of the Ger­man Fleet in 1918.

Mr Choules re­leased his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy in 2009 ti­tled The Last of the Last, de­pict­ing his child­hood and move to Aus­tralia, as well as his times at war.

Mr Choules, who is now blind and al­most com­pletely deaf, now lives in a nurs­ing home.

He and his wife, who passed away at the age of 98, had two daugh­ters and a son.

He also has 13 grand­chil­dren, 26 great - grand - chil­dren and two great­great-grand­chil­dren.

His son, Adrian Choules, said Mr Choules was not ex­cited about the mile­stone birth­day or the at­ten­tion he was re­ceiv­ing as the last sur­viv­ing war com­bat vet­eran.

‘ ‘ He couldn’t care less about his birth­day.

‘‘ He’s a celebrity now but that’s only be­cause ev­ery­one else has died,’’ he said. ‘‘ He served in two wars but he hated war. He just saw it as a job . He never marched in an An­zac pa­rade he wasn’t or­dered to. ‘‘ Some­one’s got to be the last man stand­ing.’’

Photo: ROSS SWAN­BOR­OUGH

LE­GEND: Claude Choules, WWI and WWII vet­eran, 110, in front of a paint­ing of him­self by his grand­son Lind­say Pow

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