The Last Tommy
An article from the Telegraph that was brought to my attention by Piper on the book club concerns Harry Patch, the last Tommy of the Great War.
Harry Patch survived the bloodbath that was Passchendaele, three months of human sacrifice in the autumn of 1917 that left half a million British soldiers dead or wounded, including Henry John Patch.
â€œThe afternoon is wearing on and Mr Patch is tired. He pauses to listen to the children playing. What does it feel like to be the last of those millions, that army of ghosts?
“I don’t like it,” he says and then adds: “I sit there and think. And some nights I dream – of that first battle. I can’t forget it.
“I fell in a trench. There was a fella there. He must have been about our age. He was ripped shoulder to waist with shrapnel. I held his hand for the last 60 seconds of his life. He only said one word: ‘Mother’. I didn’t see her, but she was there. No doubt about it. He passed from this life into the next, and it felt as if I was in God’s presence.
“I’ve never got over it. You never forget it. Never.”
109 years old, Harry Patch, and he still has nightmares about the war.