Britain’s Great War: Final. Harry was last survivor of the trenches

HARRY PATCH AT A POPPY APPEAL IN SOMERSET IN 2007. Below: THE GRAVE OF JOHN PARR, THE FIRST BRITISH SOLDIER TO DIE IN THE WAR.

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

FOR YEARS, HARRY WOULD NOT TALK ABOUT HIS WAR EXPERIENCES OR ATTEND REUNIONS, AND EVEN AVOIDING WAR FILMS ON TV.

Harry Patch was no ordinary fella. He was a survivor. Patch died in 2009 aged 111.

He was the last surviving British soldier to have fought in the trenches of the First World War.

Born in Somerset in 1898, he was the youngest of three brothers. After school he followed his father, a master stonemason, into the building trade.

He was training to be a plumber when the war broke out. He started in the Army in 1917, after conscription was enforced.

Recruited in the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, he spent four months as a private in Ypres.
On September 22, a shell exploded near him, killing three pals. Shrapnel pieced Harry’s lower abdomen.

While in a convalescence unit in Sutton Coldfield, 1918, he met his wife Ada Billington – knocking her over while he was running for a bus.

They were married for more than 50 years. They had two sons. Harry returned to plumbing in Somerset, later starting a business in Bath.

……………………………………………………………………......................................................................................
THE ARMISTICE BROUGHT A HALT …
IN JANUARY 1919, THE LEADERS OF 32 COUNTRIES MET IN PARIS FOR A CONFERENCE. IT WAS DOMINATED BY THE ‘BIG THREE’ – DAVID LLOYD GEORGE, GEORGES CLEMENCEAU AND WOODROW WILSON. LLOYD GEORGE CAME UP WITH A COMPROMISE – THE FORMATION OF THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS, A FORERUNNER TO THE UNITED NATIONS. AFTER PROTESTS BY GERMANY WERE IGNORED, THE TREATY OF VERSAILLES WAS SIGNED ON JUNE 28, 1919. LLOYD GEORGE PREDICATED, “WE SHALL HAVE TO FIGHT ANOTHER WAR AGAIN IN 25 YEARS’ TIME”.
…………………………………………………………………….........................................................................................

When the Second World War started, Patch was 41. He was considered too old to fight so he worked at a US base and joined Bath’s Auxiliary Fire Service.

He retired from plumbing in 1963; Ada died in 1973; and in 1980, he moved to Wells and married Jean, who died in 1984.

He dedicated his 1999 Legion d’Honneur – France’s highest honour – to his three pals who did not make it.

Who was first Briton to die in this war? 

His name was Private John Parr and he was only 16 years old. In an extraordinary coincidence, Parr’s grave faces that of George Ellison, the last soldier to die in the war. 

Like so many keen and young recruits, he most probably lied about his age when he joined up in 1913.

The young golfing caddy, from Finchley, North London, joined the Middlesex Regiment and was soon sent to the Western Front.

It is believed he and another recruit were sent on their bikes … to locate the enemy on August 21, 1914.

The pair met a German cavalry patrol and Parr was shot as he tried to hold off the enemy; his companion went to report back.

No pictures of him have ever been found … his family … were so devastated by their loss that his name was rarely mentioned again.

SOURCE: From the WW part 1 and WW part 4 100th Anniversary, produced by the Daily Mirror, UK.


Britain’s War Years in vivid, glorious colour!

HOW GOOD IS A MEAL OF SCRUMPTIOUS FOOD FRESHLY COOKED? THESE POOR LONDON CHILDREN ENJOY A PENNY’S WORTH OF PLUM DUFF -- A SPICED SUET PUDDING MADE WITH RAISINS OR CURRANTS. THE YOUNG BRIGANDS GOT THEIR TUCKER FROM A SOUP KITCHEN AT BERMONDSEY IN 1917. SOUP KITCHENS ARE PLACES WHERE ALL PEOPLE -- HOMELESS, LOST -- AND WITHOUT ANYWHERE TO HIDE; WHO HAVE NO MONEY TO GET SOME SUSTENANCE. THIS PHOTO WAS ORGINALLY SHOT IN BLACK AND WHITE, NOW IT’S BRILLANT, SPARKING COLOUR AFTER A COLOUR SOFTWARE WAS PUT TO THE TEST.


CHEWING GUM: It still remains a very natural habit

CHEWING GUM WAS A DELICACY IN THE ANCIENT WORLD.

THE FIRST COMMERCIAL GUM WAS ENACTED BY THE AMERICAN COLONISTS.

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

Have you ever wondered, as you unwrap your stick of gum, where this habit had its origin? How long ago? And where gum comes from today?

Chewing gum is a habit that’s been passed on to us over the centuries.

There is something about chewing gum that made it seems perfectly right. It is a natural thing to do. Mankind has been doing it for centuries; and the gum they use is exactly a product of nature.

The chewing of gum has its origins in past civilisations when man chewed upon, but did not swallow the small lumps of natural resin. This natural resin exuded from the trees in the forests and from sweet grasses, grains, leaves and waxes.

Early man learned that the act of chewing gently … helped to clean his teeth and thus aided him to concentrate.

The Greeks, for example, chewed the resin from the small trees; or a shrub called the mastic tree. In doing so, they added the word ‘masticate’ to the modern language.

In our complex society, we still choose gum as a method of cleansing the mouth, for relaxation, and to assist concentration.

The beginning of modern chewing gum can be traced to Indian tribes who inhabited the New England area of the North American continent. In the1800s, colonists there noted that the local Indians chewed on lumps of resin which came from spruce trees once the bark had been cut.

This lump was actually sold to the colonists who in turn used it to chew upon.

Sometime later, about 1860, an ingredient known as “chicle”, a milky type of latex, which comes from the Sapodilla tree, was added. This ingredient is still used in modern chewing gum today – it’s the smooth and springy texture it produces.

.........................................................................................................................................................................................
THE PRESENCE OF ULURU …
AUSTRALIA’S SACRED SUMMIT WAS NEVER CLIMBED BY SOME PEOPLE AS THEY MIGHT ANSWER, “BECAUSE IT’S THEIR’S.” ON OCTOBER 26, ULURU, THE MOUNTAIN THAT CHANGES COLOUR, IS SLAP BANG IN THE CENTRE OF THE CONTINENT, WAS OFFICIALLY CLOSED TO CLIMBERS. IT WAS RETURNED TO THE ANANGU PEOPLE IN 1985. THE PRESENCE OF ULURU, A 2-PART FEATURE, COMING EARLY NEXT YEAR.
.........................................................................................................................................................................................

By the1900s, with improved manufacturing methods and stricter quality control, chewing gum became ultra-popular the world over.

The gum used today is the result of combining several different products from the various countries. The United States, Latin America, the Far East and the Australia food industry, which also provides the necessary ingredients.

When they’re put together, these make that fresh strip – or pellet shape – that people find so tasty when they pop them into their mouth to chew. The recipe is made up of chewing gum base, softeners, glucose syrups and flavours.

Gum base puts the ‘chew’ into chewing gum.

Gathered by groups of the natives who search for forests trees of the right age and size and give a good yield are recognised as the best produced of chicle. These workers are known as “Chicleros’ in Central America.

The chiclero use a rope to climb the trees. Then with a machete, cut a zig-zag pattern in the trunk, enabling the flow of latex into containers tied at the base of the tree. The latex is collected, processed and moulded in 12kg blocks.

These blocks are carried out of the jungle to the nearest seaport by either a mule-pack, elephant-back, boat or plane.

That’s only the beginning. Those blocks of latex carried from the jungle have a long way to go before they end up as little sticks of gum in a person’s pocket.

[Adapted from Chewing Gum – a product of nature; Published by Australasian Studies; 1979.]

SOURCE: Adapted from Grand Years 11, 2009.


HISTORIC HOTELS: Where yesterday meets today – but what happen in the past!

OLD SYDNEY TAVERN AS IT WAS IN ABOUT THE 1830s. Below: THE LIFE-SIZE REPLICA OF BILLY BLUE IN PLAQUE-FORM FROM THE ORIGINAL, AND SUBSEQUENT TAVERN HOTELS. 

IT’S A MEETING PLACE OF SYDNEY AND IT WAS WHEN ONCE OLD SYDNEY TOWN WAS BUZZING IN TIMES PAST!

ROY DRURY    

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

Down in Blues Point Road, McMahon Point, Sydney, is the Old Commodore Tavern, the first Free Standing Tavern built.

The name of the road, on which the Old Tavern sits, was obtained per medium of that irascible character Billy Blue, a constant visitor to the tavern.

Blues Point was the home where old square riggers use to stay.

Just to visit and soak up the atmosphere of the Old Commodore Tavern is a memorable experience – just like it was in old days.

Billy Blue, who was one of the original characters of Sydney Town, arrived in Australia, likely before 1805, possibly from Jamaica.

He very soon came under the Patronage of Governor Macquarie, who nicknamed him the “Commodore”.

Besides running the Ferry Boat Service to Dawes Point, Billy Blue was also the Watchman at the Heaving Down Place, where ship were careened in Sydney Cove.

In 1817, the Commodore was given a grant of 80 acres of what was to become known as Blue’s Point at a rental of 2/- per year.

And when Macquarie decided to clamp down on smuggling, it was Billy Blue who was called upon to help cut down the flourishing Rum Smuggling trade.

In October 1818, the Old Commodore himself was caught in the act with two casks of rum lashed to his boat.

The colourful Billy Blue finally died, aged 99, in 1834. He left two daughters and a son.

Is it any wonder the old Commodore still attracts customers? Billy Blue would shake his head if he had the chance!

.........................................................................................................................................................................................
QUEEN VICTORIA BUILDING, SYDNEY …
1893 – A NEW DESIGN ON THE FORMER MARKETS SITE IS CONCEIVED. FINAL DESIGNS BY ARCHITECT GEORGE McRAE DETAIL A THREE-STOREY ARCADE, WITH 200 SHOPS UNDER ONE ROOF, OCCUPYING AN ENTIRE CITY BLOCK. IN 1897, A SUITABLE NAME WOULD BE AFTER THE REIGNING MONARCH, QUEEN VICTORIA “IN ORDER TO MARK, IN A FITTING MANNER, THE UNPRECEDENTED AND GLORIOUS REIGN OF HER MAJESTY, THE QUEEN”, WRITES THE COUNCIL. IN 1898, THE GRANDIOSE BUILDING IS UNVEILED WITH AN EXTRAVAGANT CEREMONY.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 21 November 19

Stay Informed

Receive eNews & Special Offers

Brochure Request Order

Tour Reviews Read

Last 12 months


Tags