27 August 2008

RIP: Gladys Powers

Gladys Powers
10 May 1899 – 22 Aug 2008

The last female veteran of World War I has died. ZUI this article from the Abbotsford (BC) Times:
Abbotsford's oldest soul waltzed her way onto the front pages of the Times, and into our hearts over the years - now we wish Gladys Powers Godspeed as she leaves this earth, at 109 years of age.

Four months after celebrating her birthday on May 10, Gladys Powers died peacefully in her sleep at around 2 a.m. on Aug. 15.

Powers, who may have been Canada's oldest First World War veteran, was admitted to MSA General Hospital after she broke her hip on Aug. 14 at her home for many years, the Valhaven Rest Home.


Born in Lewisham, England, in 1899, she moved to Turkey with her family before the First World War. After her mother died, she returned back to England and at 15, she fibbed about her age to enlist in the British Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. She then worked as a waitress with the British Women's Royal Air Force during the First World War.

After the Great War, she immigrated to Canada with her first husband, Canadian soldier Ed Luxford. She disliked the cold, so the couple moved to Vancouver, walked nearly 1,000 kilometres along the Canadian Pacific tracks in 1925.


At her death, Gladys was the world's last surviving female veteran of World War I and Canada's oldest war veteran.

ZUI also this article from the Vancouver (BC) Province, which gives more information about Mrs Powers.

Wikipedia now lists twelve surviving veterans of World War I: four living in the UK, three in Australia, two each in France and the US, and one in Italy. All twelve served in the Allied forces (six British, two French, and one each Australian, Canadian, Italian and US); the last Central Powers veteran, Franz Künstler (Austro-Hungarian army) died on 27 May 08.

Update 1234 4 May 2010: In January 2010 Florence Green, of King's Lynn, Norfolk, was discovered to have also been a WRAF veteran from World War I. She is currently the only known living female WWI veteran.

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