Thursday, 6 August 2009

WWI veteran Harry Patch to be buried today

Today Harry Patch, who at the time of his death at 111 on 25 July was the last surviving veteran of WWI in Britain, will be buried. The funeral will take place at 12.00 BST today in the cathedral of Wells. Among the 1,000 mourners attending will be the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Gloucester. Later there will be a national memorial service in Westminster Abbey for all those who fought in the Great War.
The coffin will today be accompanied by British, French, Belgian and German soldiers, which will reflect Patch’s view that “Irrespective of the uniforms we wore, we were all victims”. Harry Patch was the last man to have experienced the horror of the WWI trenches and in his old age made clear his staunch opposition to war. On the eve of his funeral the band Radiohead released a song titled “Harry Patch (In memory of)”, where the lyrics consist of Patch’s own words:

I am the only one that got through
The others died where ever they fell
It was an ambush
They came up from all sides
Give your leaders each a gun and then let them fight it out themselves
I’ve seen devils coming up from the ground
I’ve seen hell upon this earth
The next will be chemical but they will never learn

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