Canada

Last WWI vet celebrates 107th birthday

Canada's last known surviving First World War veteran had an early birthday celebration in Spokane, Wash., on Wednesday with friends, family and a letter from the Queen.

Canada's last known surviving First World War veteran had an early birthday celebrationin Spokane, Wash., on Wednesday with friends, family and a letter from the Queen.

Surrounded by family and reporters, JohnBabcock opened a package of birthday wishes that B.C. MP James Moore brought from Canada.

Included in the parcel were letters of congratulations from Queen Elizabeth and Governor General Michaëlle Jean and a tie with red poppies from Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Babcock was born July 23, 1900, on an Ontario farm, and enlisted at the age of 15. His youth meant he couldn't go to the front lines in France, so he was put in the Boy's Battalion doing drills all day long. The war ended before he turned 18. He says he never felt like "a real soldier."

Babcock became an American citizen in the 1920s and joined the U.S. army.

He said he was touched by the birthday wishes.

"It means a hell of a lot. It means very much to me because although I'm an American citizen, I still love Canada," he said.

With files from the Canadian Press

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