Claude Stanley Choules: Last World War I Combat Vet Dies at 110
Claude Stanley Choules, Veteran of WWI & WWII, Dies at 110 in Australia
Claude Stanley Choules, the last known living combat veteran of World War I, has died at age 110 in a rest home in Perth, Western Australia. His nickname was "Chuckles".
Claude Schoules was born in England, joining in the Royal Navy at age 14 during World War I, and serving aboard the HMS Revenge. He was around 16 years old when he saw the German High Seas Fleet surrender off the ORkney Islands in 1917.
After the war, Choules moved to Australia, where he joined the Royal Australian Navy. He then served as a torpedo and demolitions officer during World War II, destroying mines that washed ashore and scuttling harbor assets in the event of a Japanese invasion.
Claude Stanley Choules published his memoir, The Last of the Last, at age 108. As far as anyone knows, there are now no more living veterans of what was called "the war to end all wars", but which was anything but. For his part, Claude Stanley Choules died a pacifist, refusing to glorify anything to do with war.
As the acting torpedo officer at Fremantle in WWII, Mr Choules disposed of the first German mine to wash up on Australian soil.
He was drawn to the water at an early age, fishing and swimming at the local brook. Later in life, he would regularly swim in the warm waters off the Western Australia state coast, only stopping when he turned 100.