Genealogy Blog

8 June 2012

Europe's Oldest Woman Dies in France Aged 114

The oldest known woman in Europe, French national Marie-Therese Bardet, has died just days after celebrating her 114th birthday at her retirement home in the village of Pontchateau in the western Loire-Atlantique region of France.

Bardet was the sixth oldest person in the world, according to the US-based Gerontology Research Group, which compiles birth certificates of people aged over 110 years.

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12 April 2012

French WWII Resistance Hero Raymond Aubrac Dies Aged 97

One of the leading figures of the French resistance against the Nazis, Raymond Aubrac, has died aged 97, his family says. His daughter said he had died at Val de Grace military hospital in Paris on Tuesday evening.

Raymond Aubrac and his late wife Lucie became important members of Jean Moulin's underground Resistance movement in 1942. Aubrac was arrested in June 1943 with Moulin, who died after torture.


29 February 2012

'Band of Brothers' Soldier Lynn Compton Dies Aged 90

Lynn D. "Buck" Compton, a veteran whose Second World War exploits were depicted in the HBO TV series "Band of Brothers," has died aged 90. Compton died on Saturday in Washington state after having a heart attack last month, the family said.

In January, nearly 200 guests, including actors from the Second World War miniseries, attended his 90th birthday party, the Skagit Valley Herald said. "To us he wasn't really a war hero, he was just a hero, period," Tracy Compton told the Herald.

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17 February 2012

Florence Green: Funeral Held for Last WWI Veteran

The funeral of a woman thought to be the last person to serve in the armed forces during the WWI has taken place in west Norfolk. Florence Green, 110, from King's Lynn, served as a mess steward at RAF Marham and RAF Narborough in 1918.

She died on 4 February at Briar House care home, King's Lynn, 15 days before she was due to celebrate her birthday. The funeral was held at Mintlyn Crematorium, Bawsey, and marked with a flypast by a Tornado from RAF Marham.

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8 February 2012

'World's Last' WWI Veteran Florence Green Dies Aged 110

A woman thought to be the world's last known surviving service member of World War I has died aged 110. Florence Green, from King's Lynn, Norfolk, served as a mess steward at RAF bases in Marham and Narborough.

She died in her sleep on Saturday night at Briar House care home, King's Lynn. Mrs Green had been due to celebrate her 111th birthday on 19 February. The world's last known combat veteran of World War I, Briton Claude Choules, died in Australia aged 110 in May 2011.

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30 January 2012

Auschwitz Survivor Dies on 67th Anniversary of Camp’s Liberation

Kazimierz Smolen, a 91-year-old Auschwitz survivor who after World War II became director of the memorial site, died Friday on the 67th anniversary of its liberation.

Smolen died in a hospital in Oswiecim, the southern Polish town where Nazi Germany operated Auschwitz-Birkenau during World War II, said Pawel Sawicki, a spokesman for the Auschwitz-Birkenau state museum.

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9 January 2012

World War II Navajo Code Talker Keith Little Dies at Age 87

Keith Little, who joined the Marine Corps at age 17 and became one of the famed Navajo Code Talkers of World War II, died Tuesday at an Arizona hospital. He was 87.

Little, the longtime president of the Navajo Code Talkers Association, spent his last years touring the country to gain support and funding for a museum honoring the men whose use of the Navajo language in radio transmissions confounded the Japanese during the war in the Pacific.

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13 August 2011

Great Australian WWII Heroine Dies at 98 in London

Nancy Wake, Australia's greatest World War II heroine and a prominent figure in the French Resistance known as the "The White Mouse" for her ability to evade the Germans, has died in London. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the woman who was once the Gestapo's most wanted person, was "a devastatingly effective saboteur and spy".

"Nancy Wake was a woman of exceptional courage and resourcefulness whose daring exploits saved the lives of hundreds of Allied personnel and helped bring the Nazi occupation of France to an end," Gillard said.

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4 August 2011

Rudolf Brazda, Believed Last Surviving Gay Concentration Camp Prisoner, Dies at 98

Rudolf Brazda, believed to be the last surviving person who was sent to a Nazi concentration camp because of his homosexuality, has died, a German gay rights group said Thursday. He was 98. Brazda was sent to the Nazis’ Buchenwald concentration camp in August 1942 and held there until its liberation by U.S. forces in 1945.

Nazi Germany declared homosexuality an aberration that threatened the German race, and convicted some 50,000 homosexuals as criminals. An estimated 10,000 to 15,000 gay men were deported to concentration camps, where few survived.

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6 July 2011

Otto von Habsburg who saw end of empire dead at 98

Otto von Habsburg saw the crumbling of the empire his family had ruled for centuries and emerged from its ashes as a champion of a united and democratic Europe.

The oldest son of Austria-Hungary's last emperor fought Nazism and Soviet communism during his long decades of exile from his homeland, and was lionized by leaders across the continent as "a great European."

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20 May 2011

Last Great War combatant laid to rest

The last surviving combat veteran from WWI, Briton Claude Choules, was laid to rest in Australia on Friday in a moving naval ceremony quietly marking the end of an era. Choules, nicknamed "Chuckles", died in his sleep at his hostel home in Perth two weeks ago. He was 110.

In his eulogy, son Adrian Choules said his sailor father had been a loving parent, had lived a very long and wonderful life, and "now belongs to the rest of the world". "The last time I spoke at a funeral I was sad, very sad," Adrian Choules said. "But today it is different... today is a celebration."

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5 May 2011

Last WWI Combatant Dies in Australia

Briton Claude Choules, the final World War I combat veteran, has died aged 110 in Australia, the last of more than 70 million military personnel mobilised during the conflict. Blind and almost totally deaf, Choules, nicknamed "Chuckles", died at his hostel home in Perth overnight.

After American Frank Buckles died earlier this year, Choules was declared the last known combat survivor of the Great War that left 37 million soldiers dead or wounded. The only other surviving veteran of World War I is said to be Britain's Florence Green, who served with the Royal Air Force in a non-combat role and is now aged 110.

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15 April 2011

World's Oldest Man Walter Breuning Dies in US Aged 114

The world's certified oldest man, whose advice to others included the observation "you're born to die", has passed away aged 114 in the US.Walter Breuning was old enough to remember his grandfather recounting his part in the slaughter of the American Civil War, during the 1860s.

In his final years in Montana, he was passionate about ending two modern wars, those in Iraq and Afghanistan. His long good health he put down to a strict regime of two meals a day. "How many people in this country say that they can't take the weight off?" he asked in an interview with the Associated Press news agency in October.

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15 March 2011

Blue plaque at Devon home of WWII spy Eileen Nearne

A blue plaque is to be unveiled at the last home in Devon of WWII heroine Eileen Mary Nearne. Ms Nearne died last September of a heart attack, at the age of 89. After her death her role and heroism as an agent in occupied France was revealed including her capture and torture at the hands of the Gestapo. The blue plaque, a scheme operated by English Heritage since 1986, will be unveiled on Tuesday at her former home in Torquay.

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10 March 2011

Rotunda Honor Is Blocked for World War I Veteran

The question of who, once dead, will lie in honor in the Rotunda of the Capitol is one that rises rarely and usually without the gossamer of political controversy. But the family of the longest surviving American World War I veteran, who died last month at 110, has been rebuffed by the leaders of the House and Senate, who have moved to deny the late soldier his day under the dome.

The family of the veteran, Frank Buckles, assisted by lawmakers from his home state, West Virginia, keep pressing on. Their desire to see Mr. Buckles lie in honor — only federal officials or military officers lie in state in the Rotunda — is not just about him, they insist, but also his fellow doughboys, now committed to history books and fading photos.

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