Florence Green enlisted in the Women's Royal Air Force at the age of 17 in September 1918. Just two weeks before her 111th birthday, the World War I veteran passed away in her sleep at a care home in Norfolk, England. Green was the last surviving person to have served in that war nearly a century ago.
While at the RAF bases in Marham and Narborough, Green served as a mess steward. Her husband, Walter, was also an army veteran. Walter served in both world wars, and died in 1975 at the age of 82.
Green leaves three children, May, 90, June Evetts, 76, and Bob, 85.
Evetts told the BBC that her mother didn't like to blow her own trumpet, so she rarely talked about her time with the WRAF. She was proud of her service and loved the people she worked with, continued her daughter.
Florence Green's story was uncovered in 2010 by Andrew Holmes, a British correspondent for the U.S.-based Gerontology Research group, using the National Archive. In 2011 it was thought that Claude Choules was the last World War I veteran. He died in Australia at the beginning of last May.
Green joined the WRAF two months before the war ended on Nov. 11, 1918. She was enrolled under her maiden name, Florence Beatrice Patterson, and served seven months.
Holmes told the UK Telegraph that a veteran doesn't have to be someone who saw action. A veteran is someone who served in one of the armed forces, regardless of their role - a medic, an ambulance driver or a waitress--they all count, said Holmes.
Besides being the only remaining World War I veteran in the world, Holmes confirmed that Green was also the sixth oldest person in the UK.
Claude Choules, who died at the age of 110 in early May 2011, was the last known survivor of 70 million combatants from World War I, said CNN. Choules, a British sailor, witnessed the surrender of a German fleet in 1918. The veteran was born in England, but emigrated to Australia in 1926. He joined the Australian navy, and became a chief demolition officer at the time of World War II.
Frank Buckles served in France in 1918, driving an army ambulance for the American Expeditionary Forces. He lied about his age to enlist in 1917, becoming a corporal. The Carpathia, the ship that rescued Titanic survivors in 1912, brought Buckles to England in December 1917. According to the New York Times, Buckles never got closer than 30 or so miles to the Western Front trenches. I was a snappy soldier, Buckles told USA Today in 2007, All gung-ho. The corporal died at the age of 110 in late February 2011.
Henry Allingham died at the age of 113 in mid-July of 2009. According to the UK Telegraph, Allingham was the last man to witness the naval Battle of Jutland, and the last surviving found member of the RAF. He enlisted in 1915, and served as a seaplane mechanic, and spotter/bomber. Allingham spoke to the BBC, saying, War's stupid. Nobody wins. You might as well talk first, you have to talk last anyway.
Henry Patch, a British combat veteran of World War I, died in late June at the age of 111. Patch returned from the war wounded from the Western Front, said the Huffington Post. The veteran reportedly boasted about not killing anyone in combat. Instead the Huffington Post reports that Patch instead shot at the legs of German soldiers who had charged with bayonets. I've often wondered whether he realized that I gave him his life, said Patch, He was no more than 15 yards away when I shot him. I couldn't miss, not with a Webley service revolver, not at that range.
Bill Stone, another British World War I veteran, died in mid-January 2009 at the age of 108. Stone fought in both world wars. Just weeks before the Allies declared victory, Stone joined the coal-fired battle cruiser HMS Tiger. He continued in the Royal Navy, and according to the UK Telegraph he helped make five trips to evacuate Allied soldiers from Dunkirk in 1940.