Our physical link with the Great War grew a little thinner this week with the news that William Stone, the last surviving serviceman to fight in both world wars, has died aged 108. Mr Stone joined the Royal Navy on his 18th birthday in September 1918 and served on HMS Tiger.
HMS Tiger served throughout the Great War and saw action at the Battle of Dogger Bank, and Jutland where she was hit 17 times. From 1919 to 1922 she served in the Atlantic Fleet Battlecruiser Sqdn.
During WW2 Mr Stone was a chief stoke on HMS Salamander and took part in the evacuation of Dunkirk, rescuing 11oo troops in 3 trips, despite suffering damage from an enemy air attack. After Dunkirk he took part in the Sicily landings of 1943 with HMS Newfoundland and was mentioned in dispatches.
It is inevitable that all of these old soldiers will pass away at some point, I just hope that the act of remembrance doesn’t disappear with them. With Europe spiralling into a deep recession, and an ever increasing racial and religious unrest bubbling on a global scale, there are uncanny similarities to the 1930’s and we all know the result of that….That is why rememberance and learning from history is so very important. We cannot afford to make the same mistakes again.