Harry Patch served as a private in the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry at the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917. He was married in 1919 and had two sons. Between the wars he worked as a plumber and on building sites in the Bristol area, and when the Second World War broke out he served first as a firefighter throughout the Bath Blitz and later alongside American troops in the run-up to D-Day. In 2002 he attended the seventy-fifth anniversary of the inauguration of the Menin Gate at Ypres, and in 2005 he took part in the BBC TV documentary The Last Tommy and was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Bristol.
He died in July 2009.
Richard van Emden has interviewed over 270 veterans of the Great War and has written widely on the 1914 -18 conflict. His previous books include Britain's Last Tommies, Boy Soldiers of the Great War, All Quiet on the Home Front, Prisoners of the Kaiser and the top five best selling The Trench. He has visited the Somme and Ypres every year since 1985 and has an expert knowledge of the First World War battlefields. He lives in London.
(Photo credit: Jason Pierce-Williams)