Caroline Shipsey

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Remembrance Sunday - Harry Patch 110 years old

A cold and windy morning with a wintry feel didn't deter War Veteran Harry Patch, aged 110 years from attending the service at St Cuthbert's church in Wells today. Apart from the local dignitaries, Royal British Legion, ROAB and members of other services, this year photographers from the national press were there and TV cameras too, mainly because of the presence of this remarkable old man.

Harry is the last surviving British soldier to have fought in the trenches of the Western Front during the First World War, and one of just two trench combatants still alive. He published his autobiography at the age of 107, the Poet Laureate wrote in his honor in 2008, and he was also awarded the Freedom of the City of Wells. You can read more about Harry here.

It felt just a little intrusive to be part of a group of photographers all snapping away at this frail old man in his wheelchair, he seemed oblivious to it all, he's been the focus of much media attention in the last few years. Whatever, I'm pretty certain that we all felt we were being given a very special opportunity to photograph this amazing gentleman and I will treasure my images of him.

Harry Patch