Canwest News Service - The last known First World War veteran who served Canada, John Babcock, has died at the age of 109, ending a link to the era when Canada came of age as a nation.
Babcock, who enlisted at 15, never saw battle.
Underage when he joined the 146th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force in Sydenham, Ont., he arrived in England a few months later and was transferred to reserve battalions.
A Kitchener, Ont., farm boy, he ended up with the Boys Battalion in 1917, waiting until he turned 18 to go to the front lines. The war ended first, however.
In a statement released late Thursday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said: “I was deeply saddened to learn today of the death of John Babcock, Canada’s last known First World War veteran.
“On behalf of all Canadians, I would like to extend my sincere condolences to Mr. Babcock’s family and friends. As a nation, we honour his service and mourn his passing,” he said.
“The passing of Mr. Babcock marks the end of an era. His family mourns the passing of a great man. Canada mourns the passing of the generation that asserted our independence on the world stage and established our international reputation as an unwavering champion of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.”