Britain’s last veteran of the First World War trenches, one of the famous “Tommies”, has been laid to rest, saluted by thousands of mourners, including relatives and friends, members of the Royal Family, and the head of the British army.
Harry Patch died last month at 111. He was drafted in 1917 as an 18-year-old machine-gunner on the Western Front. He was wounded and saw three close friends killed at Passchendaele. He said he had seen Hell on Earth during the war, and refused to speak about his experiences for many years. Then, he spoke out to promote peace. Harry Patch gave an emotional interview about war in 2005, which inspired the group Radiohead to write a song in his memory. It was released on the internet ahead of Patch’s funeral, with all proceeds dedicated to the Royal British Legion which cares for British war veterans. Radiohead lead singer Thom Yorke said that without people like Patch, it would be too easy to forget the horrors of war.