Skip to comments.Canada's sole surviving WWI vet celebrates 107th birthday (also served in US Army post-WW1)
Posted on 07/18/2007 4:17:25 PM PDT by GMMAC
Canada's sole surviving WWI vet celebrates 107th birthday
By: James Stevenson
570 News (Kitchener, Ontario) July 18, 2007 - 17:52
SPOKANE, Wash. (CP) - Canada's last known surviving veteran of the First World War is celebrating his 107th birthday with a slice of cake and plenty of humble pie.
John (Jack) Babcock says the reason he's getting so much attention is not for what he accomplished in the war, but because he is the last one standing. Still, he says, he doesn't mind the visitors - particularly the female ones.
Surrounded by family and reporters at his home in Spokane, Wash., Babcock was presented Wednesday with letters of congratulation from Queen Elizabeth and Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean.
"I am delighted to hear you are celebrating your 107th birthday. I send you my warmest congratulations on this happy occasion and good wishes for an enjoyable day," said the letter from the Queen.
Jean spoke of a "rich life filled with accomplishments" in her letter to Babcock.
"You can also reflect on the fact that your generation has seen tremendous and unprecedented changes, be they technological, scientific, political or social," she said.
"The success you have enjoyed, the contributions you have made to those around you and the knowledge you have gained are treasured gifts."
Babcock also received congratulations and a gift - a tie with red poppies - from Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Canada's oldest living First World
War verteran and about to turn 107,
John (Jack) Babcock speaks about his
life from his home in Spokane,
Washington on Wednesday July 18.
(CP PHOTO/Larry MacDougal)
Babcock, whose actual birthday is July 23, was born in 1900 on an Ontario farm and enlisted with the Royal Canadian Regiment when he was just 15 years old.
Lying about his age, he made it to England before his service record caught up with him and he was relegated to the Boys Batallion and not allowed to see action.
Babcock trained hard along with nearly 1,300 other underage soldiers in anticipation of crossing the English Channel and facing enemy fire, but the war ended before he could set foot in the trenches of France.
Soon after the war, he moved to the United States, where he served in the U.S. army and became a naturalized citizen. He has lived in Spokane in eastern Washington state since 1932.
Babcock became Canada's last known surviving First World War veteran after two others died earlier this year. Dwight Wilson, also diverted from the front lines because he was too young, died in May at the age of 106. Lloyd Clemett, 107, died in February. He had lied about his age so he could enlist, telling officers he was 18 when he was only 16.
God bless the dear old guy!
I understand that there are only three known American survivors of WWI.
Any German survivors still around?
The gentleman looks good for his age. Seems alert too.
I am rather new to t internet and so I am not at all sure that I am doing this correctly but I hope that this gets to Mr. Babcock.
I have never met him but I am a great nephew of Mr Babcock, originally from Watertown N,Y. And I think that it is incredibly cool to be related to him. One of Mr. Babcock’s brothers is my paternal grand father. I never met him until I was in my twenties. It was odd. When I was quite young I thought that his son was my grandfather as he was older than either of his brothers, Butch and my father Paul, and when you are so young an older man living with your grandma is usually your grandpa. But realy Uncle Toogy was taking care of his mother. I figured this out eventually and only go on about it to explain that I was not ever that close to t family in that direction. I do remember Uncle Jack and Uncle Roger and I think there was a Keith but I am not sure. They were not my immediate uncles. Mostly I remember these men from when I met them in my twenties rather han when I was a child as well. I think that they might be brothers to John Babcock.
I am a bit of a history buff and from one of them we got a picture of a WW2 German jet hidden in t woods. This is also quite cool.
From Butch and my father I heard of my great uncle a few years ago. Over time most of t other WW1 veterans passed away until now, when I understand that there is only one left from America and my great uncle from Canada.
I have seen t Canadian History channel piece on him and have seen all these thing about him on t computer. If for no other reason I am happy about it as it is good indication that I may well have plenty of years ahead to look forward to.
I hope that he gets to see this and that if he would like for him to write me back.
Regardless, I am proud and glad to be related to him however distantly. And I hope that he has many more good years ahead of him.
sincerely/Paul Babcock Jr.
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