[Military - Harry Patch]

Harry Patch

The Last Fighting Tommy – demobbed at Fovant

[Harry Patch]

Harry, Britain’s last surviving WW I Infantry veteran, died on July 25th 2009, at the age of 111. After a memorial service at Wells Cathedral he was buried where he was born, in the village of Combe Down 33 kilometres north east of Wells.

Called up for service in the British Army in 1917, he was badly wounded at Passchendaele, but later returned to the front to serve in further battles until hostilities ceased.

Demobilisation, long in coming, eventually saw him returned first to the Isle of Wight, and then to Gosport.

“ … Gosport we went to Fovant on Salisbury Plain, and that’s where I got my demob papers. We were sent to the quartermaster’s store and given our civilian clothes, all the same and ill-fitting, or, rather, it would be more accurate to say they fitted where they touched. We were then handed a travel warrant and set free. There was a light railway going from Fovant to Salisbury, from where we took a main line to wherever we were going. I headed for Bath and Home.”

from ‘ Last Fighting Tommy’ by Richard Van Emden

January 2012

Content last updated
3 January 2012

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