Frank Buckles – the last surviving American veteran of World War I – has rejoined the rest of his comrades. He passed away yesterday, age 110.
Buckles, who also survived being a civilian POW in the Philippines in World War II, died peacefully of natural causes early Sunday at his home in Charles Town [West Virginia], biographer and family spokesman David DeJonge said in a statement. Buckles turned 110 on Feb. 1 and had been advocating for a national memorial honoring veterans of World War I in Washington, D.C.
There are two known WWI survivors left in the world; an Australian man and a British woman, 109 and 110 respectively.
Buckled certainly had an action-packed life:
Buckles served in England and France, working mainly as a driver and a warehouse clerk. The fact he did not see combat didn’t diminish his service, he said: “Didn’t I make every effort?”
An eager student of culture and language, he used his off-duty hours to learn German, visit cathedrals, museums and tombs, and bicycle in the French countryside…
…In 1941, while on business in the Philippines, Buckles was captured by the Japanese. He spent 3½ years in prison camps.
“I was never actually looking for adventure,” Buckles once said. “It just came to me.”
I’d often wondered; what must it be like to be the last of…any group, much less a group of nearly five million?
“I knew there’d be only one (survivor) someday. I didn’t think it would be me,” he was quoted as saying in recent years.
RIP, Frank Buckles.