World War I Vets Finally Pen Memoirs

Imagine being over 100 years old. You are an antique, and a huge history tome. Two men from the United Kingdom, Harry Patch, age 110, and Henry Allingham, age 112, have produced memoirs in their extreme golden years. Patch’s book, The Last Fighting Tommy, is the stuff of legend: life in Edwardian England and survival through two world wars, fighting in the first and working the home front in the second. Allingham’s book, Kitchener’s Last Volunteer, though perhaps less spectacular, witnesses horse-drawn carriages making way for autos and then airplanes. During WWI Allingham worked in airplane maintenance, and flew patrols – an act of bravery in those early days of brand new flight technology. Perhaps Allingham has the most interesting background to his memoir, though…

According to the UK Telegraph article, Allingham was “discovered,” by David Goodman who founded the WWI Veteran’s Association. Allingham was “waiting to die” until Goodman persuaded him that his stories were important. Now Allingham has a purpose to live, traveling about giving talks to school kids, giving interviews, and being active in veterans remembrance programs. Patch and Allingham were everyday people going about their everyday lives. Amazing what is behind “everyday.”

For another look at WWI stories, take a look at Veterans: The Last Survivors of the Great War, by Richard van Emden – priceless! Did you know that Veterans Day, Nov 11, marks the anniversary of the end of WWI? Originally, “Armistice Day” honored WWI vets; as of 1954 it now honors all vets.


About moonbridgebooks

Co-author of Cherry Blossoms in Twilight, a WWII Japan memoir of her mother's childhood; author of Poems That Come to Mind, for caregivers of dementia patients; Co-author/Editor of Battlefield Doc, a medic's memoir of combat duty during the Korean War; life writing enthusiast; loves history and culture (especially Japan), poetry, and cats
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