Blogs > Cliopatria > Defined by War, Defined by Peace

May 5, 2011

Defined by War, Defined by Peace

The last World War I combat veteran, Claude Choules, has died in Australia, aged 110:

[He] was defiant of the tolls of time, a centenarian who swam in the sea, twirled across dance floors, and published his first book at 108. He also refused to submit to his place in history, becoming a pacifist who wouldn’t march in parades commemorating wars like the one that made him famous.

Choules' pacifism is a reminder of how imposed historical roles often sit jarringly with personal belief.  He will always be remembered as the final combat veteran of World War I, an oddity for someone who came to reject even the celebration of Anzac Day.

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