The world’s last known surviving Service person from the First World War has died aged 110.
|Florence Green during her service with the Women’s Royal Air Force in 1918 [Picture: via MOD]
Source: Ministry of Defence, UK
Florence Green, who served as a mess steward at RAF bases in Marham and Narborough, died in her sleep on Saturday 4 February 2012.
Mrs Green, who was a member of the Women’s Royal Air Force (WRAF), was thought to be the last surviving Service person from the time of the First World War. The world’s last known combat veteran of the war, Briton Claude Choules, died in Australia aged 110 on 5 May 2011.
The last three First World War veterans living in the UK — Bill Stone, Henry Allingham and Harry Patch — all died in 2009.
Mrs Green’s husband Walter, an army veteran who served in both world wars, died aged 82 in 1975.
Born in London before moving to Norfolk, Mrs Green was 17 years old when she joined the WRAF on 13 September 1918 — two months before the armistice.
Mrs Green worked as a waitress at RAF bases in Norfolk and left the Service on 18 July 1919.
She then moved to work in a hotel in King’s Lynn and in her spare time she was heavily involved with the Royal British Legion.
Mrs Green’s youngest daughter, June Evetts, said:
“I never heard anyone say a bad word about her. She would never blow her own trumpet and certainly wouldn’t shout about the fact she was the last veteran. She was very proud of what she did and we are all very proud of her. Her death does close the book on the First World War as there are no veterans left now.”
Speaking 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.
Women in the WRAF 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.
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 that members of the Royal Air Force would be at her funeral.
On Mrs Green’s 109th birthday, Wing Commander Adrian Burns and mess steward Hannah Shaw, from RAF Marham, visited her to present her with a birthday cake.
Andrew Robathan, Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans, said:
“I am very sorry to learn of the death of Florence Green, the last known surviving veteran of World War One.
“As we approach the centenary of the start of World War One, Florence’s passing helps to highlight the many Service personnel, including some 80,000 women, who served in support roles during that conflict.
“When we think of the First World War, public focus naturally falls on those in the trenches, afloat in warships or in aerial sorties over the front lines. But none of those activities would have been possible without the work of the supply, logistic and support personnel often located far away from the battlefields. They contributed greatly to the Allied victory.
“I am sure that neither Florence nor her colleagues ever imagined that she would be the last survivor of that terrible war.
“Her sad passing is a major milestone in the history of this nation and of the world. Indeed, it is the end of an era. I send my condolences to her family and friends.”
Ministry of Defence, UK
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