Mr Harry Patch was born in 1898 and died in 2009 aged 111. He was conscripted into the British Army during the First World War and was the last survivor of the millions of young men who fought in the trenches of Northern France and Belgium. A book entitled “The Last Tommy” was written about his life. Mr Patch was born in Somerset and lived in a retirement home in Wells during the last few years of his life. Students at Clyst Vale wrote letters and cards to him which he greatly enjoyed reading.
The photos above show Mr Patch with Mrs Padden and ex-student Chris Padden, and were taken at his 111th birthday party, when he was given cards and cakes from our students. On that day a promise was made that we, at Clyst Vale, would always remember those young men on both sides of the line who fought in that most brutal conflict.
Every year on 22 September we hold a “Harry Patch Day”. This was his personal remembrance day as on this date in 1917 he was badly wounded and three of his friends in the Lewis gun team were killed. We raise money for the Royal National Lifeboats Institution (his favourite charity) in his memory, and will be collecting money on Friday 20 September and Monday 23 September. Please encourage students to bring in a contribution in memory of Mr Patch.