WWI veteran Claude Choules celebrates 110th birthday

Claude Choules with his daughter
Image caption Claude Choules has three children and 11 grandchildren

The British man believed to be the last surviving combat veteran of World War I is celebrating his 110th birthday.

He emigrated to Australia before World War II, and now lives in a nursing home in Perth.

Raised by his father, young Claude wanted to be a bugler in the Army and tried to lie about his age so that he could be recruited.

When he failed, his father got him onto a Royal Navy training ship instead and he joined up in 1916 at the age of 14.

During the Great War, Claude was a seaman with the first battle squadron and served aboard its flagship HMS Revenge.

As a young sailor, he bore witness to one of the most remarkable episodes of the war - the surrender of the German Imperial Navy and its scuttling in 1918 at Scapa Flow, off the Orkneys.

He is now blind and almost totally deaf - a veteran with a failing body but a still sprightly mind.

His family is putting on a small celebration in Perth, but say he is not too fussed about reaching the milestone of his 110th birthday.

He is a modest man who feels slightly embarrassed by the attention he has received.

In the mid-1920s, Claude came to Australia on loan from the Royal Navy and then took up a permanent transfer to the Royal Australian Navy.

A demolition expert, he was tasked with laying booby traps in Fremantle harbour, which would have been exploded in the event of a Japanese invasion of Australia.

He is also the last known veteran to have served in both world wars.

Claude has three children and 11 grandchildren. He is now a widower, following the death of his wife, Ethel, three years ago. They had been married for 80 years.

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