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from the Guardian 22 July 2003

Survivor of first world war dies at 108

The late Jack Davis
Jack Davis in 2001

Britain's oldest surviving first world war veteran, Jack Davis, formerly of the 6th Battalion Duke of Cornwall Light Infantry, has died. He was 108.

Mr Davis "just peacefully drifted away" at a nursing home in Stoke Hammond, Buckinghamshire, yesterday morning, said his son Ken.

Mr Davis, who escaped the battle of the Somme in 1916 because he contracted trench fever, was the oldest survivor of the war, said the World War One Veterans Association.

The horrors of the trenches remained with Mr Davis throughout his life, his son said.

"He always expressed the opinion of how futile war can be. He used to say, 'So many soldiers go to their deaths in a war, and in many cases for what reason?' He abhorred war."

Despite his age and frailty, Mr Davis was excited that in April he had met the Prince of Wales, commander-in-chief of his old regiment, at a reunion of the veterans' association.

Mr Davis was born on March 1 1895 in Kentish Town, north London, one of 16 children.

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