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The Last Tommy

90 years ago, the British Army was still fighting the Battle of the Somme.

Having grown from about 250,000 at the start of the First World War in 1914,to 3 ˝ million men at the end of the war in 1918, having suffered dead of over 700,000 and wounded of 1.6 million, the British Army of WW 1 was, for the first time, not a professional army backed by a Territorial Force, but an army of the common man.

Incredibly, some members of the British military who saw active service in WW1 are still with us. The oldest is 109, the youngest is 104.

One day, hopefully not for some years yet, there will be none.

A campaign exists to mark the passing of this generation with a memorial service of some description.


I first came across the campaign on the Army Rumour Service website.

Members and posters from this site have written to their MPs and others to raise awareness of the campaign. Some of the replies are posted in the link above. Some are reproduced here.

I’ve also seen newspaper reports that a cross-party group of MPs, led by Ian Duncan-Smith, are campaigning to the same end.

This report is from the Daily Telegraph, 17 Feb 06

The current consensus seems to be that a state funeral would be appropriate, subject to the wishes of the family involved, or a service of memorial and thanksgiving, or possibly both.

It is clear that any such service is not for the actual former serviceman involved, but instead is to commemorate the vast cohort of the British military of 1914-18.

Most British families had a relative who fought in the Great War and thus this campaign affects most of us. The purpose of this site is to keep the campaign running so those who fought on our behalf are not forgotten.


Other images from WW 1

Who was “Tommy Atkins”?

The Royal British legion

The Last Tommy programme on the BBC

The excellent BBC History Site

The Accrington Pals

War Memorials Trust


Want to know more about a relative who fought in WW 1? Try The Public Records Office

or this page from the Army Rumour Service wiki Researching Your Military Ancestors


Last updated: 22 Oct 06                                                                                         Contact Us  |  Copyright© 2006 The Last Tommy  |  Site hosting by BFG 9000