Australia – Funeral of last known WWI active serviceman

Mr Claude Choules 3 Mar 1901-5 May 2011
Today the last known WWI veteran who saw active service was farewelled by his family, the Royal Australian Navy and the West Australian community at a public service in Fremantle.

The Naval funeral honoured the life and service of Chief Petty Officer Claude Choules with time honoured traditions such as the gunfire salute and a naval uniformed procession, whilst also providing opportunity for the Choules family to celebrate the characteristics that made Claude Choules a family man.

Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Russ Crane, said that the funeral service gave the chance to remember and celebrate the life and service of former Chief Petty Officer Claude Choules. “By gathering here to remember, we are also gathering to mark the passing of the Great War into history as the last links break between those who were there and we who remember them,” he said.

Mr Choules was a member of the Royal Navy 1916-1926 and transferred to the Royal Australian Navy and served through WWII until retiring in 1956.

Claude’s career in the Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navy spanned some of the most significant events in maritime history of the 20th century, therefore his passing signals the end of an era.

“As the last known combat veteran of the ‘war to end all wars,’ Claude’s was among our last living memories of those momentous days when the German High Seas Fleet surrendered in 1918 and later was scuttled at Scapa Flow,” Vice Admiral Russ Crane said.

Mr Claude Choules was cremated at a private family ceremony on conclusion of the public church service.

Press release
Ministerial Support and Public Affairs,
Department of Defence,
Canberra, Australia

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