Claude Choules (1901 - 2011)

Posted: Monday, May 09, 2011 by Travis Cody in

Claude Stanley Choules, the last known combat veteran from World War I and the last known veteran to serve in both World Wars, died on 5 May 2011.  He was 110. 

The last remaining veteran of WWI is now Florence Beatrice Green (nee Patterson) of the UK, who served in the Royal Air Force Women's RAF.

Mr Choules joined the British Royal Navy at 14 and served at sea throughout WWI, witnessing the surrender of the German Imperial Navy and the scuttling of the German fleet at Scapa Flow.  

In the 1920s, Mr Choules served as an instructor to the Royal Australian Navy.  He transferred permanently to the RAN and served as Acting Torpedo Officer on HMAS Fremantle in World War II, and as a Demolitions Officer.  After the war, he continued his service in the Naval Dockyard Police, until his retirement in 1956.

He was married to his sweetheart, Ethel, for 80 years.  She died at the age of 98.

Mr Choules said that the secret to his long life was to "keep breathing".

I knew about Frank Buckles, the last living US veteran of WWI, because he was an American and so am I.  I knew much less about Claude Stanley Choules, and that is to my detriment.  Based on the accounts I've been reading, Mr Choules was a fine gentleman, as was Mr Buckles.

A Fine Gentleman.  It seems a grand thing to aspire to be.

I say again as I have said before, it is the nature of time that they leave us.  I make the choice granted me by liberty and freedom to remember their service and sacrifice, and to honor it always.

Peace to you, Mr Choules.  You earned it.

Claude Stanley Choules
3 March 1901 - 5 May 2011


  1. Thank you for that lovely tribute. What an amazing career he had?

  1. Jeni says:

    And I, for one, am always glad to see your tributes to those who served so gallantly. Lovely post, Trav.

  1. Anonymous says:

    THanks for sharing, Trav. Aside form his service record, what struck me form your post was how long he had been married. Who gets to say they were married for 80 years? Amazing all around!

  1. A great Person has gone home,Rest in Peace Mr.Choules you have earned it.

  1. Once again you do honor to another hero of our country. Well done Sir

  1. Pam: Indeed, an amazing life and times.

    Jeni: It is always my honor to write them.

    GGG: I think of the things they must have seen together.

    Mike: I'm going to look for his book.

    V: A hero to the world.