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Oldest serving KIA in WW1?


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#1 Deleted_woodyudet_*

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Posted 11 March 2003 - 03:48 PM

Colonel Henry Thomas Ward Allatt was shot during the easter rising and died of wounds shortly afterwards aged 69. He had retired, but rejoined in 1914 to assist recruiting. Has anyone come across an older serviceman who was KIA during WW1? I can't believe that there was an older one killed by enemy fire, unless in an air raid, shelling or similar ?? or a general officer [although 69 is pretty old for a General ...]

#2 Tim Birch

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Posted 11 March 2003 - 04:06 PM

According to Middlebrook the oldest soldier to die on the Western Front was Lt H Webber aged 68 who was KIA in July 1916 near Mametz Wood. He was battalion transport officer with 7th South Lancs and is buried at Dartmoor Cemetery, Becordel-Becourt nr Albert.

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#3 Terry Denham

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Posted 11 March 2003 - 05:17 PM

Not KIA but out of interest...

The oldest soldier to have an official war grave is Field Marshal Duke of Connaught & Stathearn at the age of 91. There are two others aged 82 & 84.

Of course this came about because Field Marshals, Admirals of the Fleet & Marshals of the RAF never officially retire. So all they had to do was die during the qualifying dates and they had a war grave.

However, FMs Roberts (82) and Kitchener (65) (and others) were still in service when they died - the latter officially KIA.

#4 Deleted_woodyudet_*

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Posted 11 March 2003 - 06:07 PM

68 ... that's pretty old for a Western Front officer! I suppose its possible that there was someone older than 69 KIA while serving in colonial campaigns in Africa or in an air or naval raid,. Any advance on 69 ?...

#5 Staffsyeoman

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Posted 11 March 2003 - 07:05 PM

It's a while since I went there, but I am darned sure that on the wall of the Garden of Remembrance in Ladywell ey Cemetery in SE London (about 10 mins from me) there is a soldier aged 73. And I can't find my notebook with him in!
If I remember checking the context, he enlisted fraudulently, and his true identity and age were applied to the memorial subsequently.

I'll report back when I've retraced my steps!

#6 Terry Denham

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Posted 11 March 2003 - 09:05 PM

10 minutes from you!

I used to live five minutes from Ladywell Cemetery!

#7 Tim Birch

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Posted 11 March 2003 - 09:58 PM

This is not Great War, but about 15 years ago when I was passing through Gibralta I visited a cemetery were several men who had died of wounds sustained in the Battle of Trafalgar are buried. I was surprised to see that at least one of these seaman was well into his 70's! In those days an Able Seaman joined (or was pressed into) the Royal Navy for life!

Harry Webber was an interesting character who had badgered the War Office to let him join up, because he already had two sons serving on the Western Front. I suppose that by making him battalion transport officer they hoped to keep him reasonably well out of harms way. He was delivering supplies to a dump in Happy (or Death) Valley when he was fatally wounded by a single shell burst on 21st July 1916.

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#8 CROONAERT

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Posted 11 March 2003 - 10:57 PM

The oldest (WW1) "other rank" that I have come across who is classified as a "battle death" is Pte.W.W.Speight, 13/Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He died, aged 62, on 1st August 1917 and is buried in New Irish Farm cemetery, Ypres.


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#9 Paul Reed

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Posted 12 March 2003 - 05:18 PM

Dave - an article in the OMRS journal some years ago proved beyond doubt that the age on Speight's headstone was wrong - he was in fact in his mid-30s!

This all sounds familiar, doesn't it!? ohmy.gif

#10 Paul Reed

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Posted 12 March 2003 - 05:29 PM

Thought this was a continuation of an older thread - but its a new one!

The oldest soldier known to me was Brig-Gen J.M.Richardson, who died of wounds at Etaples in March 1918, aged 69. He was wounded in the March offensive while serving as a CRA. He is buried in Etaples Mil Cem.

Charles Douie mentions him in The Weary Road.

#11 CROONAERT

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Posted 12 March 2003 - 11:57 PM

QUOTE (Paul Reed @ Wed, 12 Mar 2003 17:18:24 +0000)
Dave - an article in the OMRS journal some years ago proved beyond doubt that the age on Speight's headstone was wrong - he was in fact in his mid-30s!

This all sounds familiar, doesn't it!? ohmy.gif

Mmmm! Starting to get annoyingly familiar! dry.gif Surprised we haven't yet got any 100+ year old soldiers,the way that the CWGC seem to be shaping! (before I receive a torrent of abuse from anyone - I know they do a great job!!!)

I did stumble on who must be the youngest though (on the database) whilst searching for someone else. Didn't record the name (probably been corrected now anyway), but did you know that a 3 year old infantryman was killed at Ypres in 1917? tongue.gif


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#12 Terry Denham

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Posted 13 March 2003 - 10:35 AM

Dave

CWGC did correct all the 'silly' age errors some months ago - all caused by scanning errors.

These corrections will not show up on the internet database until it is next updated later this year. The youngest age they now have recorded is 14.

Just because an article 'proves' a different story, it doesn't make it necessarily correct. I can't comment on this one because I have not seen it but, after all, Jack the Ripper has been 'proved' to be about ten different people over the years!

#13 Paul Reed

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Posted 13 March 2003 - 07:05 PM

Terry - this article was written by someone who was researching his local war memorial, on which this man was listed. He had not set out to disprove the age, but kept turning up contradictory information so got the birth certificate. So I think it is pretty conclusive.

I will fish this out and send you a copy of the article.

#14 Terry Denham

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Posted 13 March 2003 - 07:31 PM

Paul, I would like to see the article although I was not making any comment about it in particular.

I was merely saying that one man's proof is another man's hypothesis.

#15 CROONAERT

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Posted 16 March 2003 - 01:04 AM

QUOTE (Terry Denham @ Thu, 13 Mar 2003 10:35:57 +0000)
CWGC did correct all the 'silly' age errors some months ago - all caused by scanning errors.

Pity they didn't keep them as an "outtakes" section.Even though it's a serious subject,they did afford me some amusement. tongue.gif

Dave

#16 CROONAERT

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Posted 16 March 2003 - 01:14 AM

QUOTE (Terry Denham @ Thu, 13 Mar 2003 10:35:57 +0000)
These corrections will not show up on the internet database until it is next updated later this year. The youngest age they now have recorded is 14.

Terry,

Just out of curiosity. Who is the youngest 14 year old?. I know about John Condon ,who, as you know, is presently the subject of much debate and R.V.Steed MN. Are there any others?

Dave

#17 Terry Denham

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Posted 16 March 2003 - 11:40 AM

The candidate most frequently put forward is -

Pte David Ross 11322 2nd South African Infantry Regt
Died 25 March 1918 aged 14 year 3 months Gauche Wood, Cambrai

Was wounded at 13 yrs 9 mths.

Buried in Heudicourt Communal Cemetery, Somme

There is a thread elsewhere on the Forum relating to the youngest KIA.

There are, of course, many fifteen year olds in the casualty lists.