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An Era Comes to an End with the Death of Canada's Last Veteran from World War I

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John Babcock, the last Canadian Veteran of WWI

"Old soldiers never die, they just fade away." - American General Douglas MacArthur

An era comes to an end with the death of John Babcock, Canada's last surviving veteran from the World War I. He was 109 years of age when he died in Spokane, Washington where he has lived for more than eighty years. More importantly, an entire era of Canadian history has died with him. Canadian soldiers played an important role in both world wars, but it was world war one that Canadian soldiers proved they were the best shock troops in the entire British Empire. Of all the forces in the British Empire, it was the tough Canadian farm boys who spearheaded the Allied assault into Belgium and the Netherlands which they did with lightning speed in events which are now immortalized as 'Canada's Hundred Days'. Many of them, like John Babcock himself, were gripped by patriotic fervour lied about their age so they could fight in Europe.

And like so many of Canadian soldiers, John Babcock was born and raised on a Canadian farm where hard physical labour and the ability to shoot a gun was necessary for survival. Growing up in a cold and inhospitable land, it was said that these hardy Canadian farm boys were often tougher fighters and better shooters than the professional soldiers of Britain, Germany and other countries. And it should be remember that it was the bravery of Canadian soldiers at Vimy Ridge and other battles of WWI that brought Canada out of Great Britain's shadow and onto the world stage. Despite the current debate on how to best honour Babcock, who has come to symbolize an entire generation of Canadians and Veterans who lived through the World War I era, the most important way is for Canadians to never forget his sacrifice.


Jack Babcock, Canada’s Last World War I Veteran, Dies at 109

Military history of Canada during the First World War

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