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Farewell, Chuckles
May 5, 2011 6:11 PM   Subscribe

Last World War I combat vet dies in Australia. Claude Stanley Choules was 110. RIP, Chuckles.
posted by bwg (40 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Just want to preemptively defend this and say that even though the post uses the word "Australia" in it, it is actually an objectively significant piece of news and even though there was a thread about WWI vets a couple of days ago, this ought to stay.
posted by tumid dahlia at 6:14 PM on May 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


and the band plays Waltzing Matilda, and the old men still answer the call,
but year after year, their numbers get fewer, someday no one will march there at all.

That someday is officially here.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:15 PM on May 5, 2011 [16 favorites]


Ahem. Florence Green.
posted by mightygodking at 6:21 PM on May 5, 2011


Ahem. Combat vet.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:28 PM on May 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


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posted by limeonaire at 6:29 PM on May 5, 2011


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Well, I guess it finally is a war to end war, at least for those who fought in it.
posted by orthogonality at 6:37 PM on May 5, 2011


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posted by rahnefan at 6:41 PM on May 5, 2011


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posted by The Michael The at 6:42 PM on May 5, 2011


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posted by edmcbride at 6:55 PM on May 5, 2011


.

...end all wars
posted by battleshipkropotkin at 7:09 PM on May 5, 2011


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posted by ZeusHumms at 7:10 PM on May 5, 2011


wow, that first photo of him in uniform... he's a baby.

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posted by gaspode at 7:13 PM on May 5, 2011


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There's a chance, within many of our lifetimes, that we'll be posting periods about the last remaing World War II vet as well.
posted by JHarris at 7:14 PM on May 5, 2011


but year after year, their numbers get fewer, someday no one will march there at all.

That someday is officially here.


Eric Bogle, however, seems to have made a poor prediction. The numbers marching in ANZAC day parades isn't getting fewer at all. Which is something I am still struggling with my feelings about - I really fear a direction where we're still commemorating ancient wars hundreds of years after they were fought.
posted by Jimbob at 7:15 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


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Notice how good the guy still looked? Many people over 70 don't look a thing like photos of their young selves. But even in his 100s this fellow is still recognizably him.
posted by clarknova at 7:20 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


The numbers marching in ANZAC day parades isn't getting fewer at all. Which is something I am still struggling with my feelings about - I really fear a direction where we're still commemorating ancient wars hundreds of years after they were fought.

I've been pleased that the last few veterans stressed the need to remember the individual loss and tragedy, far removed from the military parades that represent official remembrance. Some families have never wanted the parades and flags and flowers, and our remembrance has always been personal. They can continue having their parades for the next thousand years for all we care, as they were never meaningful in a way that mattered.
posted by Jehan at 7:23 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by Hey Dean Yeager! at 7:32 PM on May 5, 2011


An unfathomable experience, to first have gone through the horrors of that war, and then much, much later, to have to think upon all those other people in that shared experience, and know that it's shared no more, and that you're the only one left. And then to be celebrated for it.

A senseless, absurd war from the start to its very long last.

Godspeed, Chuckles.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:59 PM on May 5, 2011 [8 favorites]


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posted by kimota at 7:59 PM on May 5, 2011


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posted by buzzman at 8:02 PM on May 5, 2011


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posted by Ahab at 8:13 PM on May 5, 2011


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posted by clavdivs at 8:14 PM on May 5, 2011


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posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:19 PM on May 5, 2011


The very last man, he died today
He let go on the 5th of May.

His eyes saw the darkness fall
Now into darkness, as will we all.

The very last man of tomorrow's war
Was born today on a distant shore.

When his life is done the dark he sees
Will pass within his memories.

And so one leaves, and one arrives
but darkness doggedly survives.

One day, of darkness we'll be free
Too late for this last man to see.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 8:21 PM on May 5, 2011 [8 favorites]


That's really just fantastic. Reflecting as I look at the young photo of him in uniform, it's not just that he was old, or that he witnessed first hand something that seems like ancient history to the rest of us. It's that he lived through what is certainly the most important 110 years of human history, that he lived it as an active figure that shaped that history, his life taking the same kind of momentous turns that world events took, and that he lived it his life well with apparent grace and wisdom.

And also... 76 years of marriage?? The thought of 76 years with my lovely wife seems like more happiness than I could possibly deserve.

Bravo, sir. Bravo.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:27 PM on May 5, 2011 [8 favorites]


Been reading "The First World War" by John Keegan lately. God, what an awful, awful mess. One might point out that they're all awful messes, and they truly are...but something about that one really does stand out.

Rest in Peace, sir. You and your generation truly deserve it.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:31 PM on May 5, 2011


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posted by motty at 8:33 PM on May 5, 2011


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posted by Jumpin Jack Flash at 8:50 PM on May 5, 2011


I really fear a direction where we're still commemorating ancient wars hundreds of years after they were fought.

I'm more worried about continually dreaming up new ones.

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posted by pompomtom at 8:55 PM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is weird, as I was just reading The Last Two Veterans of WWI, which was only published two days ago. Florence Green, the second veteran referred to in the first link, is still alive. But apparently not a combat veteran.
posted by cacophony at 8:55 PM on May 5, 2011


Eric Bogle, however, seems to have made a poor prediction

Well, I do think he intended that as the actual veterans no longer marching.

At any rate, this is probably a good opportunity to mention that the lyric I quoted (from memory) is from the Pogues version, but that Bogle's original is different. For the record, here's the line as first written:

But the band plays Waltzing Matilda, and the old men still answer the call,
But as year follows year, more old men disappear, someday no one will march there at al

While we're at it, here's Bogle's recording.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:07 PM on May 5, 2011


...and *that's* what you get for hiding in your trench during Gallipoli, Chuck!
posted by markkraft at 9:11 PM on May 5, 2011


Bye, Chuckles. I'm glad you had a happy life. I hope I'm still dancing and eating chocolate when I'm 110, with family that cares for me. We should all be so lucky. And if we stay out of any more stupid wars maybe we can be.
posted by harriet vane at 9:15 PM on May 5, 2011


At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Lest we forget.
posted by Errant at 9:41 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


An admirable man. I'm pleased he had a long life, and his wife did and children have as well.
posted by maxwelton at 10:48 PM on May 5, 2011


A veteran of both WWI and WWI, and a committed pacifist as a result. If *he* wasn't damn sure what war was like, nobody was or will be.

Go in peace, sir. Apparently we haven't yet learned from you, but hopefully we will soon.
posted by easily confused at 3:10 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by readery at 5:46 AM on May 6, 2011


Thank you, soldiers.

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posted by five fresh fish at 6:20 AM on May 6, 2011


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posted by dealing away at 7:58 PM on May 6, 2011


. :(
posted by zarq at 6:57 AM on May 12, 2011


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