'World's last' WWI veteran Florence Green dies aged 110
- 7 February 2012
- From the section Norfolk
A woman thought to be the world's last known surviving service member of World War I has died aged 110.
Florence Green, from King's Lynn, Norfolk, served as a mess steward at RAF bases in Marham and Narborough.
She died in her sleep on Saturday night at Briar House care home, King's Lynn. Mrs Green had been due to celebrate her 111th birthday on 19 February.
The world's last known combat veteran of World War I, Briton Claude Choules, died in Australia aged 110 in May 2011.
The last three World War I veterans living in the UK - Bill Stone, Henry Allingham and Harry Patch - all died in 2009.
Mrs Green leaves behind three children, four grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.
Her husband Walter - an army veteran who served in both world wars and a porter at King's Lynn station - died aged 82 in about 1975, one of her daughters said.
The 110-year-old had been at the care home since the end of November. She previously lived in King's Lynn with her daughter May, aged 90.
Mrs Green's other daughter June Evetts, 76, lives in Oundle, Northamptonshire, and her son Bob, 85, lives in Edinburgh.
Born in London before moving to Norfolk, Mrs Green was 17 years old when she joined the Women's Royal Air Force (WRAF) on 13 September 1918 - two months before the armistice.
She left on 18 July 1919.
In 2010 Mrs Green's story emerged after a researcher uncovered her records.
Mrs Evetts said: "She was just the most wonderful mother you could ask for. No-one had a bad word to say about her."
She said her mother had rarely talked about her work with the WRAF as she "didn't like to blow her own trumpet", but added she was "proud of her service and loved the people she worked with".
"I'm ever so proud of her. It's such an achievement to be that last person," Mrs Evetts said.
After she left the WRAF, the mess steward married at the age of 19 and worked for much of her life at a hotel in King's Lynn.
In her spare time she was heavily involved with the Royal British Legion and knitted clothes and toys for children.
Mrs Evetts said her mother used to crochet blankets for children at the local Queen Elizabeth Hospital up until her 90s.
Sue Bray, administrator at Mrs Green's care home, said: "She really was a lovely lady. Everyone thought a lot of her. She will be sadly missed."
Group Captain David Cooper, station commander at RAF Marham, said in a statement he was very sad to hear that Mrs Green had died and added members of the airforce would be at her funeral.
Speaking to the BBC in 2010, Mrs Green said she had served breakfast, lunch and tea in the WRAF and had got to know many different people during her service.
She added she "learned a lot of different things" and had a "good time" there.
According to The National Archives, the WRAF was created to free up men for active service.
It said women had to undertake a variety of jobs and were used as drivers, mechanics, cooks and office clerks.
At first they were based in Britain, but later about 500 women served in France and Germany.
The WRAF was disbanded on 1 April 1920.
At the start of World War II, the Women's Auxiliary Air Force was formed and renamed the Women's Royal Air Force on 1 February 1949.
Mrs Green's funeral will be held at Mintlyn Crematorium, Bawsey, in Norfolk, on 16 February, her funeral directors confirmed.