Asia-Pacific

Australia holds funeral for WWI veteran Claude Choules

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Media captionThere was a naval guard of honour at Claude Choules' funeral

The world's last known combat veteran of World War I, Claude Choules, has been laid to rest in Australia.

British-born Mr Choules died in his sleep at a nursing home two weeks ago. He was 110 years old.

At the naval funeral ceremony, his son Adrian urged mourners not to be sad, saying his father had had "a very long life and a very wonderful life".

Mr Choules began training with the Royal Navy at age 15 and transferred to the Australian Navy in the 1920s.

He served in the military until 1956.

The naval ceremony included a traditional gunfire salute, honouring the life of Chief Petty Officer Choules, which spanned some of the most significant events in 20th Century maritime history.

"By gathering here to remember, we are also gathering to mark the passing of the Great War into history as the last links break between those who were there and we who remember them," Chief of Navy Vice-Admiral Russ Crane said at the ceremony in the port town of Fremantle.

Mr Choules is survived by two daughters, a son and 11 grandchildren. His wife Ethel Choules died three years ago.

Mr Choules remembered WWI as a "tough" life, marked by occasional moments of extreme danger.

Despite his military record, Mr Choules became a pacifist. He was known to have disagreed with the celebration of Australia's most important war memorial holiday, Anzac Day.

The world's last known surviving service member of WWI is now thought to be Florence Green, who turned 110 in February. She was a waitress in the Women's Royal Air Force.

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