Last WWI combat vet Claude Choules dies aged 110

SYDNEY Thu May 5, 2011 8:04am EDT

1 of 4. Claude Choules in his Royal Navy uniform during World War I.

Credit: Reuters/Handout

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SYDNEY (Reuters) - British-born Claude Choules, 110, believed to be the last World War One combat veteran, died in his sleep in an Australian nursing home overnight, his family said on Thursday.

"He always said that the old men make the decisions that send the young men into war," said his son Adrian Choules.

"He used to say, if it was the other way around, and the old... were off fighting, then there would never be any wars," Adrian Choules told local media.

Choules was born in 1901 and signed up with the British Navy for the Great War at just 15 years of age.

After the war, he moved to Perth and joined the Australian Navy, working as a demolition officer at the Fremantle Harbour during World War II, making him the last veteran who served in both World Wars.

The only other surviving World War I veteran is believed to be Britain's Florence Green, also 110, who served with the Royal Air Force in a non-combat role.

In 2009, Choules published a book about his life, The "Last of the Last".

(Reporting by Michael Perry, editing by Miral Fahmy)

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