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Last Canadian First World War veteran turns 107

They called it "The Great War" and "The War to End All Wars" – though of course it didn't. When hostilities erupted in Europe in 1914, Canadians rushed to Britain's side. But the cost was terrible: more than 60,000 were killed, 172,000 wounded. There are no more Canadian combat veterans alive to recall the horrors of the First World War, but their voices and memories live on in the archives of the CBC. Lest we forget, here are some of their stories.

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Jack Babcock is Canada's last living First World War veteran. He was just a young boy of 15 when he enlisted. He had to lie about his age in order to do so. And although Babcock never actually saw combat, he nevertheless has some fascinating tales to tell about his time overseas with a "wild bunch of kids from the colonies." In this 2007 CBC-TV report, we learn more about Babcock's long life and wartime experiences as the veteran celebrates his 107th birthday.
• John Henry Foster "Jack" Babcock was born on July 23, 1900 in Frontenac County, Ont.

• After the war, Babcock moved to the U.S. in the 1920s and became a naturalized American citizen. There was no such thing as Canadian citizenship prior to 1947 - up until then, Canadians were just considered British subjects living in Canada. So in 2008, Babcock sought out Canadian citizenship and officially became a Canadian citizen at a special ceremony in his living room in Spokane, Wash.

• Babcock died in February 2010 at the age of 109.

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: July 23, 2007
Guests: Jack Babcock, Vincent Babcock
Host: Peter Mansbridge
Duration: 4:31

Last updated: September 30, 2013

Page consulted on October 8, 2014

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