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Claude Choules, last World War I combat veteran, dies at 110

Claude Stanley Choules, the last known combat veteran of World War I, died Thursday at a nursing home in the Western Australia city of Perth, his family said. He was 110.

Australian Department of Defence via Reuters

Archive photos of Claude Choules. Left: in Royal Navy uniform during the time he was assigned to the Nautical Training Ship Mercury, undated. Center: in Royal Navy uniform, 1917. Right: in Royal Australian Navy uniform aboard HMAS Canberra, 1929.

Beloved for his wry sense of humor and humble nature, the British-born Choules — nicknamed "Chuckles" by his comrades in the Australian Navy — never liked to fuss over his achievements, which included a 41-year military career and the publication of his first book at the age of 108.

Marie Nirme / AFP - Getty Images file

Claude Choules, the last surviving British serviceman to see conflict in WWI, is hugged by his 80-year-old daughter Anne Pow at the Gracewood Hostel in Perth, Australia on July 26, 2009.

World War I was raging when Choules began training with the British Royal Navy, just one month after he turned 14. In 1917, he joined the battleship HMS Revenge, from which he watched the 1918 surrender of the German High Seas Fleet, the main battle fleet of the German Navy during the war.

Choules and another Briton, Florence Green, became the war's last known surviving service members after the death of American Frank Buckles in February, according to the Order of the First World War, a U.S.-based group that tracks veterans.

Choules was the last known surviving combatant of the war. Green, who turned 110 in February, served as a waitress in the Women's Royal Air Force. Read the full story.

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