Harry Patch, the last British soldier alive to have fought in the trenches of the First World War, is now 109 years old and one of very few people who can directly recall the horror of that conflict.After a rural childhood in Somerset, Harry left school in 1913 to become a plumber. Three years later, he was fighting in the mud and trenches during the Battle of Passchendaele. He saw a great many of his comrades die, and in one dreadful moment the shell that wounded him killed his three closest friends. Harry vividly describes the terror and intensity of daily life in the trenches. The Second World War saw him in action on the home front as a fire-fighter during the bombing of Bath. Late in life, Harry achieved fame, meeting the Queen and taking part in the BBC documentary The Last Tommy, finally shaking hands with a German veteran of the artillery, and speaking out frankly to Prime Minister Tony Blair about the soldiers shot for cowardice in the First World War.This is the story of an ordinary man's extraordinary life.More
"[An]extraordinary autobiography... a moving, non-sentimental account by the very last witness of a devastating four years in Britain's history." (Daily Mail)
"For Harry Patch, born in 1898 and wounded at Passchendaele, November 11 is just showbiz. He remembers September 22: the day his two best mates were killed. This really is living history."(The Guardian)"We hear Harry's own husky measured voice in the introduction; the rest of his story is narrated by Alan Howard, who nicely recaptures his character."(The Times)
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Haunting & Inspiring
- B. S. Cunliffe