As described by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, we are saddened at the loss of “Canada’s last living link to the Great War.” John Henry Foster ‘Jack’ Babcock (pictured right), Canada’s last World War 1 veteran, passed away on Thursday, February 18th at the venerable age of 109.
On February 1st, 1916, John Henry Foster Babcock enlisted for the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force in Kingston, Ontario. He gave his date of birth as July 23, 1900 and despite the easy math involved in determining he was 15 years old at the time, was able to claim his age to be 18 years. He stated that was born in Lober Township, Ontario and that his mother, Mrs. J. T. Babcock was his next of kin, living at the family home on Perth Road (just north of the city of Kingston). He was only five feet, four inches in height, signed his attestation as Foster Babcock and was accepted as a recruit in the army!
Well, the army eventually figured out that he was underage so rather than going to the front, he was sent to Halifax, Nova Scotia to unload military vehicles. Although he eventually did make his way to England and was prepared to go to the front, the armistice was signed ending the war before he had that chance.
Jack Babcock lived most of his life in Spokane, Washington but never lost his love for Canada. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy, two children, two step-children, 16 grandchildren, and a number of great grandchildren.
We shall not forget!