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On air at 1100GMT: What can we learn from the wars of the past?

Chloe Tilley Chloe Tilley | 10:12 UK time, Thursday, 5 May 2011


This topic was discussed on World Have Your Say on 5 May 2011. Listen to the programme.

The world's last known combat veteran of World War I, Claude "Chuckles" Choules, has died in his sleep in an Australian nursing home at the age of 110.

Mr Choules was declared the last known male survivor of more than 70 million military personnel during WWI, after American veteran Frank Buckles passed away earlier this year, also aged 110.

He led an incredible life, lying about his age to join the Royal Navy and saw action in the North Sea at the tender age of 17. Mr Choules remembered WWI as a "tough" life, marked by occasional moments of extreme danger.

But despite his military record, Mr Choules became a pacifist and refused to march in the annual commemoration parades.

Here are some tributes,

Crashlington posted,

"how would it feel to be the last person out of 70 million left standing. RIP Claude and all the past soldiers for there are no more."


This Boston blogger wrote this two days ago, before we knew that Claude has died,

"Nearly 10,000,000 men were killed in the conflict, 65 million participated, and now we are left with two. Think about that. Think about those numbers. What are you supposed to do when an era is inches away from disappearing?"

As the number of survivors who served in World War One decreases, many people worry that the lessons and the true horror of the war could be forgotten.

So does World War 1 still have the same relevance today, to each generation? Or arguably is it more relevant to ensure it never happens again?

We're hoping to be speaking to members of his family, the last reporter to interview him back in 2009 and veterans and history teachers about how young people respond to learning about WW1 and how to keep the memory alive.

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