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Strange question..

#1
Recently I was watching the film 'we were soldiers' im sure those of you that have seen the film know that the Sgt Maj in this film is said to have served in the Second World War, this got me thinking, when did the last soldier who served in WW2 leave the British Army?

A_M
 
#2
ARMY_MAD said:
Recently I was watching the film 'we were soldiers' im sure those of you that have seen the film know that the Sgt Maj in this film is said to have served in the Second World War, this got me thinking, when did the last soldier who served in WW2 leave the British Army?

A_M
Not such a strange question but youngest, oldest, first, last, are always tricky to determine, there are usually many claimants.

However, at the time of Field Marshal the Lord Bramall's retirement in the early eighties, I remember that he was credited with being the last serving soldier wearing WW2 medals.

But of course, nothing is ever that straightforward: As Field Marshals officially don't retire, he may well share the honour of being the last serving WW2 veteran with the Duke of Edinburgh.
 
#3
Tawahi-50 said:
But of course, nothing is ever that straightforward: As Field Marshals officially don't retire, he may well share the honour of being the last serving WW2 veteran with the Duke of Edinburgh.
But wasn't he a sailor? So that makes it Liz, as she's still a Colonel.

But did she have broken service between 1945 and 1953?
 
#4
putteesinmyhands said:
Tawahi-50 said:
But of course, nothing is ever that straightforward: As Field Marshals officially don't retire, he may well share the honour of being the last serving WW2 veteran with the Duke of Edinburgh.
But wasn't he a sailor? So that makes it Liz, as she's still a Colonel.

But did she have broken service between 1945 and 1953?
DofE is a Field Marshal
 
#6
Tawahi-50 said:
putteesinmyhands said:
Tawahi-50 said:
But of course, nothing is ever that straightforward: As Field Marshals officially don't retire, he may well share the honour of being the last serving WW2 veteran with the Duke of Edinburgh.
But wasn't he a sailor? So that makes it Liz, as she's still a Colonel.

But did she have broken service between 1945 and 1953?
DofE is a Field Marshal
But he wasn't during WWII, he was a naval Lieutenant in 1947.
 
#7
putteesinmyhands said:
Tawahi-50 said:
putteesinmyhands said:
Tawahi-50 said:
But of course, nothing is ever that straightforward: As Field Marshals officially don't retire, he may well share the honour of being the last serving WW2 veteran with the Duke of Edinburgh.
But wasn't he a sailor? So that makes it Liz, as she's still a Colonel.

But did she have broken service between 1945 and 1953?
DofE is a Field Marshal
But he wasn't during WWII, he was a naval Lieutenant in 1947.

That's right , he wasn't a FM in WW2 but all I said was ;
..may well share the honour of being the last serving WW2 veteran with the Duke of Edinburgh
DofE is a WW2 veteran
He is a FM
Therefore he is still serving.

The Queen is also a Field Marshal, by the way, as is the Duke of Kent.
They may have had some pretty fast-track promotion but as I understand it, the rank they have is actual and not honourary.
 
#9
putteesinmyhands said:
Granted all that, but the OP asked about a soldier serving in WW2. So ATS qualifies but RN doesn't. The Duke of Kent was only 10 years old at the end of WW2.
Ok, you're convinced I didn't understand the original question, I'm convinced that you haven't grasped the meaning of my responses and are now clutching at straws

Let's save everyone from more boredom and finish up-

You can have the last word if you wish
 
#10
No let me have the last word Tawahi.
You served alongside some of my old mates from Kenya and Aden,
I don't think any of us could have answered those questions. Good on yer.
That's from Joe B, Cookie and myself.
Good luck. :D :D
 

the_boy_syrup

LE
Book Reviewer
#11
Didn't Farrar - Hockley Jump in WW2 and was still going in the '80s?

Here we go

Anthony Farrar-Hockley was born in Coventry the son of a journalist.[2] He was educated at Exeter School, at the age of 15 he ran away at the start of World War II and enlisted in the Gloucestershire Regiment, the fact that he was underage was soon discovered and he was discharged and had to wait to be re-enlisted in 1941. He was promoted sergeant while still aged 17 and only 18 when he was commissioned into the 1st Airborne Division in November 1942 and fought in Italy and France. Later he won the MC in 1944 while fighting the communist rebellion in Athens.[1]



After a period commanding the Army's GOC South East District (1977-1979) he was appointed commander in chief of Nato's Allied Forces Northern Europe. He held this appointment until his retirement from the army in 1982.[2]

Other positions held by Farrar-Hockley included: ADC General to the Queen (1981-1983), Colonel-Commandant of the Prince of Wales' Division (1974-1980) and of the Parachute Regiment (1977-1983). He was colonel of his Gloucestershire Regiment 1978-1984.

He must have been one of teh last surely?
 
#12
Puttees may remember our old pay sgt, Tucker.

He wore his WW2 medals until he was retired in 1983.

The PSAO at the time also had a WW2 medal (joined R Sigs boy apprentice in 1945) and he retired sometime after 1991.
 
#13
mushroom said:
Puttees may remember our old pay sgt, Tucker.
Remember him well. "Just sign here and you'll get paid for tonight" - I didn't realise that they were enlistment papers.

But what happened to the Chef, Tommy M? I was reliably informed by dodgy sources that he had re-enlisted under an assumed age. (Ably assisted by the said Sgt Tucker, no doubt). He must have had WW2 service and was about 63 when I left, but probably 45 on the books.
 
#14
Tommy had to retire after his little meeting with throat cancer.

Den P##k and myself went to see him in hospital - I was bricking it but Den set the scene by opening with the words 'That's shut you up you old bugger'.

Last saw Tommy in Richmond in about 1995. He talked like Jack Hawkins, impressed my Mother in Law by calling me sir, and conned £20 out of me - just until bounty time you understand.

One of the gungiest cooks one could ever imagine - but then again you could pull him out of his pit at midnight and in very short order he would whip up a hot meal for two hundred men.

Tommy looked very old (beer-fags -fags - beer) but he was actually about 40 when he got the Big C in 1981.
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
#15
OC HQ Squadron 15/19H retired about 1980, having come ashore on D-Day as a Pte in the Cheshires IIRC.

Obviously not last, but he was wonderfully well received on his last day.
 
#16
I could'nt find anything remotely like the post subject I wanted, so I thought this might be the best place to put it:

I'm sat trawling through Dix Noonan Webb's latest online catalogue for a medals auction for the end of the month when I came across the Pip, Squeak and Wifred (1914 or 14/15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal) for this chap - Acting Corporal W. Cavenagh, Army Service Corps, who enlisted in September 1915 at the age of 59.

Yup. 59.

There's a bit of history on the old boy - apparently, when he attested on 15 Sep 1915, he gave his age as 44! - and the link is here http://www.dnw.co.uk/medals/ click the link for 31 Mar and then go to Lot 616
So, to widen the OP's question, who was the oldest and/or longest served soldier that you came across?
 
#17
ARMY_MAD said:
Recently I was watching the film 'we were soldiers' im sure those of you that have seen the film know that the Sgt Maj in this film is said to have served in the Second World War, this got me thinking, when did the last soldier who served in WW2 leave the British Army?

A_M
The Sgt Maj depicted in the film, Basil L. Plumley, is indeed a veteran of WW2, Korea and Vietnam but was played in the film by Sam Elliot.

He certainly did not star as himself in the film...he was 82 at the time it was made ;)
 
#18
I know the question has already been answered, but, my old fella served in the Devons from Jan 37 - Dec 45 and decided he'd had enough, a few years of civvy street and a growing family meant he enlisted again in 1953 on another 22 year engagement, eventually called it a day in 1968 aged 52, by which time I was serviing as well.
Used to tickle him in his latter days when on parade as he was the only one with a WW2 set, visiting brass would always stop to chat.
I'm sure there must be many more like him.
 

the_boy_syrup

LE
Book Reviewer
#19
CoH Mick Flynn CGC,MC Household Cavalry

Has saw active service in Falklands 82 Northern Ireland Bosnia Iraq and Afghanistan stil serving IIRC

He must be in with a shout of one of the longest serving currently
I served with a SNCO in 2004 in Iraq who had also served in the Falklands but was due to finish just after IIRC
 
#20
the_boy_syrup said:
CoH Mick Flynn CGC,MC Household Cavalry

Has saw active service in Falklands 82 Northern Ireland Bosnia Iraq and Afghanistan stil serving IIRC

He must be in with a shout of one of the longest serving currently
I served with a SNCO in 2004 in Iraq who had also served in the Falklands but was due to finish just after IIRC
ISTR a 25th anniversary prog on History or somesuch and they'd managed to find 4 who were still serving?? Then again, I maybe talking complete bolleaux.
 

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