Thursday, November 6, 2008

British WWI Veterans - One of 5 Remaining - Dies

Just days before Veteran's Day here in the States, one of World War I's remaining Veteran's has died. Sydney Lucas was one of the few WWI vets to see the turn of the 21st century. According to his obituary he was among the last batch of conscripts to be called up in 1918. However, the Armistice meant he escaped the horror of the trenches. He later went on to serve in WWII.

Sydney Maurice Lucas was born in Leicester, England on 21 September 1900 and, after leaving school, began his apprenticeship as a plumber. (Listen to Genealogy Gems Episode 52 for more information on British Apprenticeship Records) He was just 17 when he was drafted into the Sherwood Foresters, in August 1918, and sent off to Yorkshire for his basic training.

Both of his elder brothers had fought in France during the war. Sydney later recalled, "The youngest one of the two was blown up twice but he didn't get any bad injuries and the other one was shot through the finger, that's all he got. They were lucky."

He attributed his long life to a moderate consumption of alcohol. "My doctor used to say that if you have two whiskies a day, it won't hurt you. He used to call in and bring the bottle."

(Image: WWI Poster from WWI)

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