John Babcock of Spokane, WA celebrates his 109th birthday this month. Babcock also has the honor of being the last surviving veteran of the Canadian forces of World War I.
During WW I, Canadian forces numbered nearly 620,000. Today, only John Babcock still remains standing. Babcock trained with the 146th Overseas Battalion in Nova Scotia and then convoyed through U-Boat infested waters to England. The war ended before Babcock could be sent from England to the battlefields of France.
After discharge from the Canadian army, he enlisted in the American army and served at Camp Lewis, WA during the early 1920’s. While at Lewis, Babcock said one of his fondest memories was “road marching” with his unit from Camp Lewis to Vancouver Barracks.
Babcock’s second wife Dorothy says he still enjoys going out to lunch on a daily basis and loves French fries. She is also proud to note that Queen Elizabeth of England and Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, have recently sent Babcock birthday wishes and congratulations on being the last surviving veteran
of WW I.
Family friend Phil Raschke of Lakewood, WA holds a copy of a World War I book that tells the story about the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the “Great War”. The metal shell casing on Babcock’s table was found in the Canadian sector of the famous Flanders Field battleground in Belgium and is stamped Düsseldorf, Germany, 1917.
This coming November 11 will mark the 91th Anniversary of the signing of the 1918 Armistice. In America, the day is called Veterans Day. In Canada, it is called Remembrance Day. Today, only one American veteran out of 4.5 million who served still survives. For Canada, the last man standing is 109 year old John Babcock of Spokane, WA.
Story by Phil Raschke