France down to one surviving WWI vet
Published: Jan. 20, 2008 at 8:53 PM
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BRIOUDE, France, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Louis de Cazenave, France's oldest World War I veteran, has died at age 110, leaving just one French survivor of what once was called the war to end all wars.
De Cazenave, who saw action in the Battle of the Somme in 1916, died in his sleep surrounded by family at his home in Brioude, his son Louis said.
De Cazenave, who was 19 when he went to war, worked for the railroads and became a pacifist after the war, his family said.
"War is something absurd, useless, that nothing can justify. Nothing," he told Le Monde newspaper in a 2005 interview.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy sent condolences to de Cazenave's family and paid tribute to all those killed in the war.
"This generation has only one remaining representative today," he said in his statement.
The lone French survivor of the epic war -- which claimed the lives of 1.4 million French soldiers and left 4.5 million more wounded -- is Lazare Ponticelli, who also 110, the BBC said. A handful of World War I veterans from other nations are also still alive.
It's sad to see the passing of a generation who went through hell for four long years. Any numbers for the other major nations involved (US, UK, Germany, Russia, Turkey, ex-European colonies, etc.)?