Harry Patch/Shutterstock.com

The politicians who took us to war should have been given the guns and told to settle their differences themselves

Famous as the last surviving British soldier to have seen action on the Western Front of the First World War, Harry Patch became known in his final years as the “last fighting Tommy.” But in fact, he hated war. He had never wanted to be a soldier anyway and never watched a war film. “I didn’t want to go and fight anyone, but it was a case of having to,” he said.

“When it came, army life didn’t appeal to me at all and when I found out how rough and tumble it could be, I liked it even less.”
He returned to the life of a plumber after hostilities finished.

Until he became very elderly, the life of Somerset-born Patch seemed fairly ordinary, as there were still plenty of elderly Great War veterans around as late as the 1960s and 1970s. Today there are none at all.

Harry Patch never spoke about his war until he was 100. And when he did, he spoke about the futility of hostilities that cost so many lives.

“World War One is history, it isn’t news,” he said. “Forget it. No war is worth it.”