12 2 mins 13 yrs

Just a short post in memory of Bill Stone, the last British Serviceman to have seen active service in  both the First and the Second World Wars. 

He served in HMS Tiger, HMS Hood, and completed five round trips in support of the Evacuation from Dunkirk. For sheer understatement, read his own words on the BBC People’s War pages. One ship he served on was a target for a U-Boat attack returning from Dunkirk, but the torpedo went straight underneath the ship, as the U-boat captain had overestimated the draught of the ship, and so fired it too deep.

Some of his compatriots from the 1939-45 conflict were known to me through my own service in the Merchant Navy, and almost without exception I found them very quiet on the subject of their own wartime memories. One of the few who talked about his experiences was a survivor of Japanese imprisonment after capture, and gave me some insight into the reasons for his bitterness towards his former captors.

Bill Stone was one of three survivors of the First World War still alive, and with his passing one less reminder of what was possibly the most futile conflict ever fought exists!

“Blow out, you bugles, over the rich dead

There’s none of these so lonely and poor of old

But, dying, has made us rarer gifts than gold

These laid the world away, poured out the red Sweet wine of youth,

gave up the years to be of work and joy, and that unhoped serene that men call age,

and those who would have been their sons they gave, their immortality”


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12 thoughts on “Parade……Attention!

  1. The 10th of 14 children! At least the name of ‘Stone’ will live on in the family line, unless all the others were girls, which is unlikely.
    God bless the old boy.

  2. I wish to make it known that I will delete any objectionable comments on any post I make, and if anyone wants to argue, it will not make any difference.

    Most comments on any topic are acceptable to me, but a statement such as that deleted is not!

  3. I don’t know why anyone would want to make an objectionable comment on a post like this, Whatever we as individuals might think of particular conflicts or war in general, surely everyone could only have huge admiration for the experiences and endurances of people like Bill Stone.

  4. >>surely everyone could only have huge admiration for the experiences and endurances of people like Bill Stone<<

    Here, here.

  5. As it was my comment that was deleted, I think I should step in here. I do have respect for men like Bill Stone. I have respect for any man who is willing to take up arms to defend their country, irregardless of what country he comes from. My comment, which was deleted, was just a joke, that in no way be littles the man in the thread, and Mike obviously took offence.

  6. I hate it when an ‘outrageous’ comment is deleted before I get the chance to see it. All sorts of wild imaginings go through my innocent little mind.

  7. Don’t worry, Colm. Maybe older people have a different sense of humour but I personally didn’t think my comment was all that "outrageous".

  8. Mike Cunningham –

    Well said. I posted here when Bill Stone died 10 days ago and saw today he’s just been buried. His was an incredible life lived in incredible times. I read he was an absolute gentleman also. RIP Bill Stone.

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