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View Full Version : The last survivor of Passchendaele



InsaneApache
07-01-2007, 10:09
This is from the sole survivor of that battle. I thought it interesting and merited a thread here.


'My Remembrance Day is on 22 September, when I lost three mates,' he once said. It was on that date in 1917, serving in the 7th Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, that Patch's battalion was returning to the support line when, he tells van Emden in the book, one of them stopped to 'spend a penny'. There was a flash and bang as a shell exploded just yards away, knocking Patch out for a couple of seconds. When he regained consciousness, he felt blood on his tunic and applied a field dressing, then passed out again. A piece of shrapnel was lodged in his groin. He later discovered that three of his friends had been killed.

But the story which most affected van Emden was Patch's memory of a Cornishman ripped from shoulder to waist with shrapnel, his stomach on the ground beside him. 'Shoot me,' the young soldier begged, but before Patch could draw his revolver the man was dead. In a 2005 interview, Patch recalled: 'I was with him for the last 60 seconds of his life. He gasped one word - "Mother". That one word has run through my brain for 88 years. I will never forget it. I think it is the most sacred word in the English language. It wasn't a cry of distress or pain; it was one of surprise and joy.'

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,2115789,00.html

I remember similar stories told to me by my grandad. It should have been the war to end all wars. Alas we know it wasn't.