Saturday, 8 August 2009

Harry Patch

I was saddened this week to hear of the passing of Harry Patch, the last surviving British soldier to have fought in the trenches of the Western Front in World War 1. He had reached the age of 111 and was briefly Europe's oldest man. I had the pleasure of photographing him in 2003 in his nursing home in Wells. Aged 105 at the time he was sprightly and entertaining and, if memory serves me, quite a hit with the ladies.
As a centurian Harry became something of a celebrity. He had a cider, Patch’s Pride, named after him, and was awarded an honorary degree by Bristol University, where he had worked on the Wills memorial 80 years earlier. He also received the Legion d’Honneur from the French government.

Harry became Britain's oldest author in 2007 when he published " The Last Tommy Standing". Radiohead paid tribute to him this week with a beautiful track entitled "Harry Patch (IN Memory Of)". All proceeds from the track go to the British Legion.

To find out more about Harry's life click here.