Thursday, 9 February 2012

Flo Green: World's Last WWI Veteran Dies.

Florence Green, the world's  last surviving WWI veteran, died in her sleep at a care home in Norfolk just two weeks before her 111th birthday. She was the last surviving person to have seen active service in WWI following the death of British-born sailor Claude Choules in Australia last year. She died on February 4th 2012.

Florence Green served with Britain'sWomen’s RAF (WRAF), which she joined in September 1918. Although she did not see front-line action, the charity Veteran’s Aid said she qualifies as a veteran of the war.
Mrs Green, who turned 109 in last February and was a great-grandmother-of-seven (as of January 2010), worked as a waitress in the officers' mess during the war at RAF Marham and Narborough Airfield, both in Norfolk.
Her story came to light after Andrew Holmes, a British correspondent for the United States-based Gerontology Research Group, traced her name using the National Archive. Mr Holmes tracks and validates the ages of people over 110 and also keeps track of British men and women who are older than 107. He was amazed to locate a service record on the National Archive for Florence Beatrice Patterson, Mrs Green’s maiden name. He traced the records further and found that Florence had joined the WRAF in September 1918 - two months before the war ended on November 11, 1918.
Mrs Green, who was born on February 19, 1901 and joined the WRAF aged 17, said she had been unaware of her status until very recently. She said:

''I enjoyed my time in the WRAF. There were plenty of people at the airfields where I worked and they were all very good company. I would work every hour God sent but I had dozens of friends on the base and we had a great deal of fun in our spare time. In many ways I had the time of my life.
It was a lovely experience and I'm very proud.''

Until recently, Mrs Green, who was born in London, lived with her daughter May, 89, in King's Lynn, Norfolk. She was married to Walter Green, a railway porter in 1920, for 50 years until his death in 1970.

Last year, when her status as a WWI veteran was discovered, Wing Commander Hugh Milroy, from the veteran's charity Veterans Aid, said:

“This goes to show that there is a huge variation in the type of veterans we have in this country.  ''Women like her played a vitally important role in the British war effort and the fact she is now the last surviving veteran is some achievement.”

Before the discovery of Mrs Green's service history, it was believed that British-born Gladys Powers, who died in Canada in 2008, was the last female veteran.

Harry Patch, recently known as "The Last Fighting Tommy" from Somerset, was previously the last surviving British World War One veteran and died in 2009 aged 111.

The penultimate survivor was Henry Allingham, who also died in 2009 aged 113. Henry famously survived the Battle of Jutland.