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Pirschjaeger
11-10-2005, 09:52 PM
By DOUGLASS K. DANIEL, Associated Press Writer
Thu Nov 10, 3:45 PM ET



WASHINGTON - Lloyd Brown remembers Armistice Day in 1918 as few €" ever so few €" veterans can.

"For the servicemen there were lots of hugs and kisses," recalls Brown, of Charlotte Hall, Md., a teenage seaman aboard the battleship USS New Hampshire, in port stateside when the fighting stopped. "We were so happy that the war was over."

Now 104, Brown adds, "There's not too many of us around any more."

No one knows exactly how many of America's World War I veterans will celebrate Veterans Day, which marks the armistice of Nov. 11, 1918, that ended what then was considered the Great War. An estimated 2 million Americans served in Europe after the U.S. entered the war in 1917.

Today, the Veterans Affairs Department lists just eight veterans as receiving disability benefits or pension compensation from service in World War I. It says a few dozen other veterans of the war probably are alive, too, but the government does not keep a comprehensive list.

The Census Bureau stopped asking for data about those veterans years ago. Using a report of 65,000 alive in 1990 as a baseline, the VA estimates that no more than 50 remain, perhaps as few as 30.

World War I, fueled by intense nationalism and conflicting economic and colonial interests, began in the Balkans in 1914 and quickly spread across Europe because of military alliances. The major allied powers were Great Britain, France and Russia, and they were opposed by Germany, Austria-Hungary and a few others.

The U.S. remained neutral even as Germany threatened its shipping and as anti-German sentiment grew among Americans. Congress declared war on Germany in April 1917 at the urging of President Woodrow Wilson. "The world must be made safe for democracy," Wilson said.

More than 10 million troops died before the war ended with Germany's surrender. Of the U.S. troops, more than 116,000 died and more than 200,000 were wounded.

Long-lived veterans are common among America's warriors. The last veteran to fight in the American Revolution died at age 109 in 1869, according to Defense Department statistics.

Other wars and the ages of their last veterans the year they died: the War of 1812, 105, 1905; the Indian Wars, 101, 1973; the Mexican War, 98, 1929; the Civil War, 112, 1958; and the Spanish-American War, 106, 1992.

The ranks of all World War I veterans grow thinner as the months pass. One of France's seven remaining veterans died two weeks ago, and the last Australian to serve in a war zone died a week earlier.

In the U.S., the last known American veteran wounded in the war died at 108 in January 2004. West Virginia's last veteran passed away in October 2004, and Iowa lost its only remaining Great War veteran two months later. An Alabama veteran of the war died last March at 110.

With each death, what was called "the war to end all wars" fades in American memory.

"It's a war that's out of mind," says Sean Flynn, who teaches World War I history at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, S.D. "The U.S. entered it late and we have no real connection to it."

Unlike the wars that followed, World War I doesn't have the visual record so important to becoming part of American consciousness, Flynn says. Yet its impact can be linked to many problems facing the world today, including conflict in the Balkans and the rise of Arab nationalism that occurred after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

"We learn about war through television and through film," Flynn says. "There's just not a lot of moving-picture footage of World War I. There's no visual image there for the public to identify with."

Lloyd Brown spends little time thinking about the days his ship escorted convoys in North Atlantic waters threatened by German submarines. Living alone in a house in southern Maryland, just a few blocks from his daughter, Nancy, he does not believe that his war has been forgotten and feels satisfied with the attention paid to its veterans over the years.

"You can't celebrate World War I year after year after year, because there are other events taking place," says Brown, who watches the news each day to keep up with the world. "You have to honor them."

Pirschjaeger
11-10-2005, 09:52 PM
By DOUGLASS K. DANIEL, Associated Press Writer
Thu Nov 10, 3:45 PM ET



WASHINGTON - Lloyd Brown remembers Armistice Day in 1918 as few €" ever so few €" veterans can.

"For the servicemen there were lots of hugs and kisses," recalls Brown, of Charlotte Hall, Md., a teenage seaman aboard the battleship USS New Hampshire, in port stateside when the fighting stopped. "We were so happy that the war was over."

Now 104, Brown adds, "There's not too many of us around any more."

No one knows exactly how many of America's World War I veterans will celebrate Veterans Day, which marks the armistice of Nov. 11, 1918, that ended what then was considered the Great War. An estimated 2 million Americans served in Europe after the U.S. entered the war in 1917.

Today, the Veterans Affairs Department lists just eight veterans as receiving disability benefits or pension compensation from service in World War I. It says a few dozen other veterans of the war probably are alive, too, but the government does not keep a comprehensive list.

The Census Bureau stopped asking for data about those veterans years ago. Using a report of 65,000 alive in 1990 as a baseline, the VA estimates that no more than 50 remain, perhaps as few as 30.

World War I, fueled by intense nationalism and conflicting economic and colonial interests, began in the Balkans in 1914 and quickly spread across Europe because of military alliances. The major allied powers were Great Britain, France and Russia, and they were opposed by Germany, Austria-Hungary and a few others.

The U.S. remained neutral even as Germany threatened its shipping and as anti-German sentiment grew among Americans. Congress declared war on Germany in April 1917 at the urging of President Woodrow Wilson. "The world must be made safe for democracy," Wilson said.

More than 10 million troops died before the war ended with Germany's surrender. Of the U.S. troops, more than 116,000 died and more than 200,000 were wounded.

Long-lived veterans are common among America's warriors. The last veteran to fight in the American Revolution died at age 109 in 1869, according to Defense Department statistics.

Other wars and the ages of their last veterans the year they died: the War of 1812, 105, 1905; the Indian Wars, 101, 1973; the Mexican War, 98, 1929; the Civil War, 112, 1958; and the Spanish-American War, 106, 1992.

The ranks of all World War I veterans grow thinner as the months pass. One of France's seven remaining veterans died two weeks ago, and the last Australian to serve in a war zone died a week earlier.

In the U.S., the last known American veteran wounded in the war died at 108 in January 2004. West Virginia's last veteran passed away in October 2004, and Iowa lost its only remaining Great War veteran two months later. An Alabama veteran of the war died last March at 110.

With each death, what was called "the war to end all wars" fades in American memory.

"It's a war that's out of mind," says Sean Flynn, who teaches World War I history at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, S.D. "The U.S. entered it late and we have no real connection to it."

Unlike the wars that followed, World War I doesn't have the visual record so important to becoming part of American consciousness, Flynn says. Yet its impact can be linked to many problems facing the world today, including conflict in the Balkans and the rise of Arab nationalism that occurred after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

"We learn about war through television and through film," Flynn says. "There's just not a lot of moving-picture footage of World War I. There's no visual image there for the public to identify with."

Lloyd Brown spends little time thinking about the days his ship escorted convoys in North Atlantic waters threatened by German submarines. Living alone in a house in southern Maryland, just a few blocks from his daughter, Nancy, he does not believe that his war has been forgotten and feels satisfied with the attention paid to its veterans over the years.

"You can't celebrate World War I year after year after year, because there are other events taking place," says Brown, who watches the news each day to keep up with the world. "You have to honor them."

panther3485
11-11-2005, 06:22 AM
Yes indeed. We (Australia) commemorated our first remembrance day without a surviving veteran, the last one having died just recently.

panther3485

stathem
11-11-2005, 06:24 AM
Paper this morning reported there are 10 (out of 5.5 million who fought) left in the UK.

huggy87
11-11-2005, 02:43 PM
Great find. The oldest world war one veteran would have to be at least 105 years old. Its amazing that so many are still left.

airdale1960
11-11-2005, 04:57 PM
My great uncle Curtis was the last of my family to die from combat related injuries. He died 3 months after the Armistice, his lungs were damaged at the Battle of the Meuse-Argonne. SALUTE,

SpartanHoplite
11-11-2005, 05:41 PM
I heard today that there are only 5 surviving WW1 vets in Canada.

SH

carts
11-11-2005, 06:29 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by stathem:
Paper this morning reported there are 10 (out of 5.5 million who fought) left in the UK. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
The Last Tommy,a prog on BBC1 the other night,interviewed the last 5 Vets from WW1,the amazing thing was,one of the guys lives in Morecambe,only 2 miles from where i live!He lives in a nursing home,with his wife!
Best bit,was one of the vetrans explained he only went for the "Crossed rifles"(Marksman) badge,because it earned him an extra "5 shillings".
Respect isnt a big enough word

Hoenire
11-12-2005, 04:32 AM
The oldest in the UK is 109, and he ascribes his longevity to:

"Cigarettes, whiskey and wild, wild women."

Interestingly, he has more chance of making it through to next week now, than he did back then.

The UK lost 10% of its population in WWI. Everyone who took part in the war deserves respect regardless of nationality, creed or whatever. It was the first and last war to really focus on attrition over narrow fronts over lengthy periods of time and I cannot even begin to fathom the fear and terror that would be a part of daily life.


Political rant:

What is even worse is what the way Germany was treated after the war - the allies laid the foundations for WWII in the Versailles Treaty. As someone once said (I can't remember who):

"Versailles was Hitler's birthplace."

Pirschjaeger
11-12-2005, 04:49 AM
I hope a thread of rememberance doesn't decompose into a political debate, even if historical.

With so few WW1 vets left, I'd say in 5 years there'll be none left. I guess we can consider ourselves lucky to have been here while a few still exsisted.

In another 20 years we will repeat this conversation for the last of the WW2 vets.

Fritz

panther3485
11-12-2005, 09:00 AM
Quotes:

Political rant:
What is even worse is what the way Germany was treated after the war - the allies laid the foundations for WWII in the Versailles Treaty. As someone once said (I can't remember who):
"Versailles was Hitler's birthplace."
________________________________________________

I hope a thread of rememberance doesn't decompose into a political debate, even if historical.



Elsewhere, maybe.
But from me at least, not here.


panther3485

Enforcer572005
11-12-2005, 09:26 PM
When I was a 7 yr old in Enterprise Ala (whre my dad was a civie flgith instructor for the army in O-1s at the time), the guy next door was an elderly gent (even then) named Arnold Grimsley....he was in the navy on a tanker at the beginning of the war, was transfered to the infantry because of personel shortages, and fought several months in France with an 03 Springfield and one of those "d@nm lousy french machine guns" (the chau chat im sure). He had a photo album from his days in the navy, including a photo of it sinking after being torpedoes in WW2 (cant remember the name-this was 1963). He had already been in the navy for several yrs, and was appalled he got transfered to the army.

I wish i could remember more of his stories, as he died in 65 i think. My mother still has some butter knives that he gave her that have "U.S." stamped on them.

I also got to see the last German aviator, who was a Rumpler pilot that was shot down by Billy bishop, back in the early 90s at a WW1 oriented air show in ala. Got some pics somewhere, if i can just find em.

Cant express my admiration for those guys.

Pirschjaeger
11-12-2005, 09:45 PM
I had a friend, Walter Deveau, back home in N.S.. He was the local bootlegger and was very popular among the youngin's. Two dollars a beer at any given hour.

Out of all the people who frequented his 24/7 place of refuge and beer, I was the only one interested in his war stories. Just before he passed away he had given me a book, "Canada's Flowerclass Corvettes". He used to serve on them. Anyway, the night he gave me the book I was skimming through it while he was telling me about sailing from Canada to England to replace their wooden guns with real ones.

Note; having served on 3 Corvettes throughout the war, they never encountered the enemy while they had wooden guns.

I came across a photo taken from the deck of a destoyer. The angle was downward, towards the waterline, and the subject were the men being pulled from the water. One of the men had a black circle drawn around him. I asked if it was his friend and he told me "No, that is me".

Needless to say, goosebumps.

He explained to me that he had been on two Corvettes that were sunk by u-boats and twice he was in the water. The first time he was rescued by the very u-baot that sank he vessel. They had brought them close to shore to meet up with a fishing vessel.

The second time he was rescued by a destroyer. He cursed the destroyer's presents simply because many of his crewmembers had drowned. He said they'd all have survived had there been no destroyer. He never had any bad feelings about the crew of the destroyer, simply the situation.

A few years ago Walter passed away. Although I spent many hours and many 2 dollar bills chatting with him, and I got some much interesting information from him, I still cannot help feeling I missed out on so much more and that his stories have gone to the grave with him.

Even now a tear comes to my eye when I think of "Walter the bootlegger". We all carry personal heros in our hearts at different levels. Walter is near the top of my list.

RIP Walter.

Fritz