Last WWI combat veteran Claude Choules dies at the age of 110 in Australia

 

The last combat veteran of the First World War, Claude Choules, has died at the age of 110.

Claude Stanley Choules was born in Worcestershire, UK and attempted to join the army at 14 by lying about his age. Instead he was sent to be trained aboard Mercury, and in October 1917 he joined the battleship Revenge and later served aboard Valiant.

After the end of the war Choules witnessed the scuttling of the German fleet at Scapa Flow before he emigrated from Britain to Australia and served for 41 years in the Australian Navy, including WWII.

Achieving the rank of Chief Petty Officer, Choules was decorated with seven medals at the time of his death, including the Australian Defence Medal. He was awarded this just two years ago, at the age of 108.

His medal set would of course be valuable if it ever came to auction (there has been no indication that it will) given his unique story, as the stories behind groups of medals are as important to collectors as the medals themselves, in some cases both come into play as in the case of the first Victoria Cross to be awarded to a soldier.

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