23 February 2010

RIP: John Babcock

John Henry Foster "Jack" Babcock
23 Jul 1900 – 18 Feb 2010

Canada's last veteran of World War I has died. ZUI this article from CTV News:
John Babcock, Canada's last known First World War veteran, has died at 109, the Prime Minister's Office said Thursday night.

Born on a farm in Ontario on July 23, 1900, Babcock signed up for the military as a teenage volunteer, but ended up digging ditches in Canada while pining for the battlefield.

Frustrated, the young Babcock later lied to military staff while volunteering in Halifax and told them he was 18, when in fact he was two years younger.


Babcock was one of 1,300 ... soldiers who were underage, and he endured hours of drill training as he waited for his chance to prove himself in battle.

By the time the war ended in 1918, however, Babcock had yet to serve.


Celebrated in Canada, Babcock never sought the spotlight, and he spent his final years living in Spokane, Washington.

In fact, he often seemed uneasy about his status as Canada's oldest veteran.

"I really didn't accomplish very much," Babcock said. "I went there and I did what the people above told me to do."

Babcock's death leaves only three other confirmed WWI veterans still alive: Frank Buckles (US Army), Claude Choules (Royal Navy) and Florence Green (Women's Royal Air Force). Douglas Terrey, of England, claims to have served in the British Army Ordnance Corps in 1917, but no official records of his service have been located.

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