14 April 2009

RIP: Netherwood Hughes

Netherwood Hughes
12 Jun 1900 - 4 Apr 2009

ZUI this article from the Accrington (Lancashire) Observer:
Netherwood Hughes, known as Ned, was one of three surviving First World War veterans until his death, but the family have said they do not want a military funeral.

The centenarian was born and bred in Great Harwood, where he lived all of his life until moving into residential care at Northlands in Great Harwood at the age of 98. Around six years ago he moved to Woodlands Home for the Elderly, Clayton-le-Moors, where he died last Saturday. He would have been 109 on 12 June.

Ned was the middle of seven children and outlived most of his family, including two wives Annie and May. He never had any children.


Last year the Observer exclusively revealed that Ned was one of the last surviving First World War veterans, after being called up in 1918.


Although he never met Ned, Britain’s longest living man and fellow veteran, Henry Allingham, 112, also said goodbye.

"Why him and not me? I’m always ready to go. It never gets any easier."

Ned leaves niece Ann and her husband Donald, sister-in-law Edith Hughes, he was the uncle of the late Clive Haworth and his wife Madge, and also uncle to the late Harry Haworth, nieces and nephews and extended family.

ZUI also this article, dated 20 Nov 08, from The Telegraph:
Netherwood Hughes - known as Ned - recalls being conscripted into the 51st Battalion of the Manchester Regiment and training as an infantryman less than six months before the war ended.

His wartime service has never been given public recognition because of missing documents and a reluctance by his family to expose him to the limelight because of his age.

But when he showed a photograph of himself in uniform to a local newspaper reporter in his hometown of Accrington as part of an article about his 108th birthday earlier this year, details were soon picked up by First World War enthusiasts and circulated on the internet.


Mr Hughes, who lives in a nursing home, remembers being called up after his 18th birthday in June 1918.

He would then have been on course to be deployed to the front lines in France or Belgium but the war ended in November and he quickly returned to civilian life as a driver in a mill, a rare skill much in demand at the time.

Any documentary record of his service has since been lost preventing him being given official recognition by the Ministry of Defence alongside the three other surviving British veterans: Henry Allingham, 112, Harry Patch, 110, and William Stone, 108.

He has been quietly recognised by the World War One Veteran's Association, although the organisation chose not to publicise the fact because of a request from Mr Hughes's family.

According to this article from Wikipedia, Hughes was the second WWI veteran to die this year, the other being William Stone, also from England. Wikipedia lists six remaining veterans of World War I: three British, and one each from Australia, Canada and the United States. The last German, Turkish, Austro-Hungarian, Italian and French veterans all died last year.

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