Thursday, May 5, 2011

The last one standing (or sitting) is a woman

A poignant day in history: the last man believed to have served in World War I has died in Perth, Western Australia. He was Claude Choules, and despite the French-sounding name was British.
Florence celebrates her 110th in February (pic British Forces News)
That leaves Florence Green, who served as a waitress in the fledgling Royal Air Force in 1918 as the last (wo)man standing, or perhaps more often sitting, given her great age.
However, this isn't to say that there aren't still a few longlived stray individuals out there who might also qualify to have served in some capacity in the Great War.
What about the many other nationalities who are often overlooked in these mostly Western statistics?
According to some sources in the British army alone, over 1.5 million "Indians and other 'coloured' troops" served in that war and yet there is very little known about most of them. Plus there are the non-combatant labourers such as the Chinese and Africans who did not fight, but also died in the course of doing their work. No doubt some of them might also have been waiters like Florence Green, but because of the class and racial attitudes of the day, they have long been lost to history.

Waitresses wanted

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