We shall remember them
As we approach the 100th anniversary of the armistice of the First World War, over the next four weeks Ann Cullis from Bath and North East Somerset Council will highlight some of the events happening this November and looks back at events and projects over the last four years in B&NES
Harry Patch was born and lived in Combe Down, and died aged 111 in 2009. He did not speak about his experiences as a soldier in the First World war until very late in his life; and when he did, he always emphasised how ordinary he was. As he became older and older, out-living his friends and comrades, he felt that people treated him as a minor celebrity when (he said) his only unusual quality was to have lived to such a great age. After the war, he was a plumber and heating engineer and worked on the water supply to the Roman Baths. In the Guildhall in Bath, half way up the main staircase, is a plaque to honour Harry Patch, and also a framed certificate: the Honorary Fellowship awarded to him by the Chartered Institute of Plumbing & Heating Engineering, on June 17 2009. He died on 25 July – just five weeks after the Honorary Fellowship was awarded. In Combe Down there is a small commemorative plaque on the front of the house where he lived, and one of the roads in the new Mulberry Park development has been named Patch Street in his honour.
Harry Patch, who fought in the First World War at Passchendaele with the 7th Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, pictured in 2007, aged 109, at Dochy Farm Cemetery in Flanders