Friday, August 7
The High, Lonely Music
Harry John Patch died recently. A plumber's apprentice, he was drafted into the British Army at the age of 15, and fought at the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele), one of the many bloody slaughters that marked the First World War on the Western Front.
Mr. Patch's funeral was attended by British troops (six privates bore the coffin) as well as Belgian, French, and German soldiers. He insisted on Germans being present as a sign of reconciliation.
At age 111, Mr. Patch was the last man to have fought in the trenches for his King and Country.
As the pallbearers stood, two buglers played The Last Post, that high and lonely music that the United Kingdom plays for its military dead.