The Last Fighting Tommy: The Life of Harry Patch, Last Veteran of the Trenches, 1898-2009

The Last Fighting Tommy: The Life of Harry Patch, Last Veteran of the Trenches, 1898-2009

Paperback

By (author) Harry Patch, By (author) Richard Van Emden

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  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • Format: Paperback | 256 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 194mm x 22mm | 200g
  • Publication date: 2 June 2008
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0747593361
  • ISBN 13: 9780747593362
  • Illustrations note: B&W Inserts
  • Sales rank: 26,339

Product description

Harry Patch, 110 years old, is the last British soldier alive to have fought in the trenches of the First World War. From his vivid memories of an Edwardian childhood, the horror of the Great War and fighting in the mud during the Battle of Passchendaele, working on the home front in the Second World War and fame in later life as a veteran, The Last Fighting Tommy is the story of an ordinary man's extraordinary life.

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Author information

Harry Patch served as a private in the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry at the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917. He was married in 1919 and had two sons. Between the wars he worked as a plumber and on building sites in the Bristol area, and when the Second World War broke out, he served first as a fire fighter with the Auxiliary Fire Service throughout the Bath Blitz, and later alongside American troops in the run-up to D-Day. In 2002 he attended the seventy-fifth anniversary of the inauguration of the Menin Gate at Ypres, and in 2005 he took part in the BBC TV documentary The Last Tommy and was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Bristol. He lives in Somerset. Richard van Emden has interviewed over 270 veterans of the Great War and has written widely on the 1914-18 conflict. His previous books include Britain's Last Tommies, Boy Soldiers of the Great War, and the best-selling The Trench. He has visited the Somme and Ypres every year since 1985 and has an expert knowledge of the First World War battlefields. He lives in London.

Review quote

'An extraordinary biography by the very last witness of a devastating four years in British history .. 'Patch is unique - living history on legs, articulate, with wonderfully vivid recall' ' Daily Mail 'Patch was not unique among millions of his comrades who endured that prolonged and supreme test of nerve and courage. But, uniquely, as the last survivor, he embodies them all' Sunday Express 'This articulate, modest and outspoken man not only remains one of the last living links with a traumatic event that has become part of the national consciousness, but is an unassailable witness of what the war was like for those who fought in it' Daily Telegraph 'A wonderful book' Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate