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

4.18 (654 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

On 17 June 2009, Harry Patch celebrated his 111th birthday. At the time, he was the last living British Tommy that had fought in the trenches of the First World War. Now that direct link with the past has gone. From his vivid memories of an Edwardian childhood, through the horrors of the battles of Ypres and Passchendaele to 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.

As we mark one hundred years since the beginning of the Great War, this powerful account of a life defined by those four devastating years remains as important and relevant as ever.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 128 x 198 x 20mm | 240g
  • Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Centenary Anniversary ed.
  • 1408855607
  • 9781408855607
  • 13,633

About Richard Van Emden

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 died in 2009, at the age of 111.


Richard van Emden has interviewed over 270 veterans of the Great War and has written fourteen books on the subject including Boy Soldiers of the Great War and Meeting the Enemy. He has also worked on more than a dozen television programmes on the First World War, including Britain's Last Tommies, Britain's Boy Soldiers, the award-winning Roses of No Man's Land, and most recently, War Horse: The Real Story. He lives in West London.
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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 *
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Rating details

654 ratings
4.18 out of 5 stars
5 40% (261)
4 42% (272)
3 16% (106)
2 2% (14)
1 0% (1)
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