Last World War One Veteran Farewelled in Australia

A naval funeral service for the last World War One combat veteran takes place in Fremantle, Australia on Friday.

The last World War One combat veteran, British-born Claude Choules, who died at 110-years-old, was laid to rest after a military funeral in the Australian port town of Fremantle.

Choules, who was nicknamed "Chuckles" by his comrades, was the last of more than 70 million military personnel who served during World War One.

During the service, Choules's casket was draped with the Australian White Ensign naval flag, flowers, and a navy sailor's hat.

In his eulogy, Choules's son Adrian paid tribute to his father.

[Adrian Choules, Son of Claude Choules]:
"Now the time is not to be sad but to celebrate what really was a very long and very wonderful life. Really, today is a double funeral. With the funeral of our father, father-in-law, grandfather, uncle, uncle-in-law, it's the funeral for that very personal fellow we know. But it's also the funeral for the guy who now belongs to the rest of the world. It really was a long, long life. If he had been born 30 days earlier, he would have been born in the reign of Queen Victoria. He was born two years before the Wright brothers flew their aero plane, the Kitty Hawk. So it was a long, long, long life."

In his later years, Choules shunned military parades. He did not speak highly of war and was renowned for avoiding ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day parades, Australia's major war Memorial Day, only marching if ordered.

More than 100 navy sailors formed a guard of honor for his casket, saluting him with a 12 rifle volley, fired three times.

Choules was the last known living person to have fought in both world wars. He was born in Britain and joined the British Royal Navy in World War I as a teenager and, according to the Australian Navy, witnessed the surrender of the German Imperial Navy in 1918.

He was seconded to the Australian Navy in 1926 and served through World War II, working as a demolition officer in Fremantle in Western Australia.

Choules was married for over 75 years to his wife Ethel, who died in 2003. They had three children, 13 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren, and at least two great-great grandchildren.