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Last American World War I veteran dies at 110

by Adam Russett on February 28, 2011

The last surviving U.S. World War I veteran, Frank Woodruff Buckles, passed away on his farm in Charlestown, West Virginia, on February 27, according to The Washington Post.

A man who has been described as a "cordial fellow of gentle humor" by the news source originally enlisted in the Amy on August 14, 1917, at the age of 16 by pretending he was 18. He served as an ambulance driver for two years in England and France, before escorting prisoners of war back to Germany after Armistice Day. He explained that he was a schoolboy who was chasing after adventure and wanted to see the world.

"Every last one of us Yanks believed we'd wrap this thing up in a month or two and head back home before harvest," he told The Washington Post. "In other words, we were the typical cocky Americans no one wants around until they need help winning a war."

After the first World War, Buckles became a purser on commercial ships but was captured in the Philippines and held as a prisoner of war by the Japanese during World War II.

He has met with top government figures – including President George W. Bush, Pentagon officials and even French President Jacques Chirac, who awarded him the French Legion of Honor pin, according to The Martinsburg Journal.

Buckles had been the last known WWI veteran since 2008.

He was an active person, and in recent years, had been trying to garner support for The National World War One Project, which would honor the memory of the 4.7 million Americans who served in World War I, according to USA Today.

With Buckles' death, there are only two remaining World War I veterans – a 109-year-old Australian man and a 110-year-old British woman.

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