Last WW1 veteran dies.

January 24th, 2008  
Del Boy

Topic: Last German WW1 veteran dies.

(Edit. fixed)

Last German soldier to fight in WWI dies without fanfare and survived by three BritonsBy ALAN HALL - More by this author Last updated at 23:20pm on 23rd January 2008

The last German veteran of the First World War has died without fanfare or recognition at his home in Hanover aged 107.

Erich Kaestner's passing went unrecorded on New Year's Day and was revealed only in a remembrance notice published by his family.

The death of the infantryman who later became a judge means that there are only four Great War veterans left from the major powers of Europe - three British and one French. Scroll down for more...
Slaughter: German machine gunners in Italy in 1917. The weapon had a devastating effect

Kaestner was a middle class boy who answered his country's call in July 1918.

German commanders had committed an exhausted army to one last push on the Western Front to try to break the Allied defences. Called Operation Michael and launched in April that year, it failed.

As a member of Sonderbattalion Hauck, a group of highly-trained recruits named after a prominent commander in the Imperial German Army, Kaestner served in the ranks trying to halt the Allies as they pushed the Germans back, causing great losses.

In November 1918, shortly before the Armistice and before Kaiser Wilhelm II went into exile in Holland, Kaestner was among a number of troops reviewed by him. Scroll down for more...
Surviving WW1 veterans: William Stone, 107, Harry Patch, 109, and Henry Allingham

He ended the war back in Germany and became a lawyer.

The death notice says he was a retired judge and had earned the Lower Saxony Cross of Merit for distinguished public service.

The German army's Military Research Institute was unable to shed more light on his military career.

"In Germany such an event doesn't have the same kind of significance as it does in other countries," said institute spokesman Bernhard Chiari.

"Any form of commemoration of military events is seen as problematic here.

"Our veterans only take part in public ceremonies when they are invited abroad to join commemorative events with veterans from other countries.

"World War I is seen as part of a historical line that led to World War II." Scroll down for more...
Brave: Two million Germans were killed in WW1 and Britain and her empire lost a million men

Three of the last four survivors are British - front-line soldier Harry Patch, 109, Royal Naval stoker William Stone, 107, and Royal Naval Air Service flier Henry Allingham, 111.
The fourth survivor is Frenchman Lazarre Ponticelli, 110.

Mr Patch was a 'Tommy' who fought at the bloodbath of Passchendaele - a battle that cost more than 400,000 Allied and German lives with a gain measured in yards.

The veteran, who lives in Wells in Somerset and who served with the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, last year visited the site where his trench was located when the battle began in 1917.

Henry Allingham is Britain's last survivor of the Battle of Jutland, the sea clash between the British and German fleets that cost 7,000 sailors their lives. Scroll down for more...
Over the top: British soldiers face German gunners as they leap out of trenches at the Somme

He flew as a spotter for the battleships in a Sopwith plane.

Mr Stone was a stoker who was called up but was still in training when the war ended.

</B>He served on many warships in the war, surviving sinkings and other near-misses.

While Erich Kaestner's passing went un-noticed, the death last Sunday of Louis de Cazenave, the last-but-one French survivor, made headlines around the world.

He took part in the Battle of the Somme and died aged 110 at his home in Brioude in central France.

He was fiercely anti-war, having served in the slaughter on the Chemin des Dames on the front - a place where men bleated like sheep as they filed into the trenches because they knew they were lambs being led to the slaughter.

"His death is an occasion for all of us to think of the 1.4million French who sacrificed their lives during this conflict, for the 4.5million wounded, for the 8.5million mobilised," President Nicolas Sarkozy said in a tribute.

De Cazenave is survived by Ponticelli, a French Foreign Legion veteran wounded in the Battle of the Frontiers when the Germans stormed into France in 1914.

He was discharged from the Legion and later joined the Italian Army in 1915 and was wounded again fighting the Austrians who were on Germany's side.

Hit in the head by artillery, he astonishingly survived.

Around two million German soldiers died in World War I and 4.2 million were wounded.
Over one million soldiers from the allied Austro-Hungarian Empire were killed with 3.6 million wounded.
France lost 1.4 million soldiers while Britain and her empire lost a million men.
January 24th, 2008  
Team Infidel
wow... R.I.P........
January 24th, 2008  
No American World War 1 veterans?

BTW, interesting history and RIP.
January 25th, 2008  
The 2nd to last WWI French vet died last week. Aged 112. There is only 1 'poilou' left out of 8 Million.
January 25th, 2008  
The Other Guy
Any Americans left? Austrians? Ottomans? Bulgarians? Serbs?
January 26th, 2008  
Originally Posted by The Other Guy
Any Americans left? Austrians? Ottomans? Bulgarians? Serbs?
By all accounts there are only about a dozen or so WW1 vets left world wide.
January 26th, 2008  
Del Boy
Yep. These guys are mostly well over 100 years, but they still won't lay down! Funny, ain't it - to think of them as kids with a gun. Salute.
January 26th, 2008  
i remember my WWI history professor telling us that the last US vet died recently, but i can't remember exactly when. And those that are still alive, in 1918 i don't think any of them could imagine living past 20.
January 26th, 2008  
The last US vet died in December

Here are some remaining survivors

French soldier Lazare Ponticelli 110
British pilot Henry Allingham, 111
Austro-Hungarian artilleryman Franz Kunstler, 107

The wiki article is way out of date
January 28th, 2008  
Originally Posted by perseus
That article says that it was OLDEST vet (not the last) that died, and that there are two left...

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