British WWI veteran dies aged 108

Discussion in 'World War I' started by syscom3, Jan 13, 2009.

  1. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    BBC NEWS | UK | England | Berkshire | British WWI veteran dies aged 108

    One of only four surviving British veterans of World War I has died at the age of 108.

    William Stone, from Watlington in Oxfordshire, was the last British serviceman to have seen active duty in both world wars.

    Mr Stone, who was known as Bill, joined the Royal Navy on his 18th birthday in September 1918 and served on HMS Tiger.

    In 2004 he was presented with the National Veterans' Badge. He died at a care home in Sindlesham, Berkshire.

    Born in Ledstone, Kingsbridge, South Devon, on 23 September 1900, he followed his brothers into the navy, serving as a stoker.

    During World War II he was a chief stoker on HMS Salamander and took part in the evacuation of Dunkirk, making five trips to pick up troops from the beaches.


    He was a man of great faith and his recipe for long life was: clean living, contented mind and trust in God
    Anne Davidson, daughter

    Mr Stone also served in the Sicily landings of 1943 with HMS Newfoundland and was mentioned in despatches after a torpedo attack as the ship made its way back to Malta.

    In an interview with the BBC in 2007, Mr Stone said: "Dunkirk was the worst part of my life.

    "One of our sister ships, Skipjack, was bombed, and 200 soldiers and all crew were killed.

    "During our trips to Dunkirk, I was often stationed on the quarterdeck helping men get aboard Salamander as they swam out from the beach.

    "Those were awful days but one just carried on as if nothing had happened - there was nothing else that you could do."

    Mr Stone married Lily in 1938 and their daughter Anne was born the year after.

    He went on to run a tobacconist and hairdressing shop in Devon, retiring in 1968 to move to Oxfordshire.

    Mrs Stone died in 1995.

    In a statement, Mr Stone's daughter said: "[He] had a remarkable, long, healthy and happy life.

    "He thoroughly enjoyed going to events, meeting people and, whenever possible, regaling those around him with his fund of naval stories and jokes.

    "He was a very determined character both in his naval career and in civilian life and, no doubt, this contributed greatly to his longevity.

    "He was a man of great faith and his recipe for long life was: clean living, contented mind and trust in God. His motto - 'keep going'.

    "William will be sadly missed by his family and many friends".

    The other known remaining British veterans of World War I are 112-year-old Henry Allingham and 110-year-old Harry Patch, who both live in Britain, and 107-year-old Claude Choules who lives in Australia.

    Minister for Veterans Kevan Jones MP paid tribute to Mr Stone.

    "We owe a great deal to the men and women who served this country with such distinction during those wars to protect our liberty," he said.

    "[Mr Stone] was a man who represented the courage, spirit and determination of his generation. He was an inspiration to us all."

    Mr Stone died on Saturday at the Masonic Care Home at Sindlesham near Wokingham, where he lived for the past two years.

    A funeral will be held later in the month at St Leonard's Church in Watlington.
     
  2. Flyboy2

    Flyboy2 Member

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    :salute: to a life time of honorable service
     
  3. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    johnbr Well-Known Member

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  5. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    May his memory continue. R.I.P.
     
  6. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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  7. rochie

    rochie Well-Known Member

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    :salute: :salute: :salute: i just hope the memory of what brave men like william stone did from both sides of the conflict wont perish with the last veteran
     
  8. Trebor

    Trebor Well-Known Member

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    my god.... 108 people rarely get to live that long, huh? :salute:
     
  9. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    :salute:

    I don't know if I would want to live that long. To me, that's a risk of seeing your children die first and that's something I never want to see.
     
  11. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    :salute:

    Fewer and fewer. We must never forget them!
     
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    I always drink to an old warrior when he passes. One down the hatch for a survivor and a sailor.
     
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    Rip sir... Thank you for trying to make the world a better place.
     
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