Saturday, June 25, 2005

Last Digger dies

A state funeral will be held for Western Australia's last surviving World War I veteran, Peter Casserly, who has died at the age of 107.
Mr Casserly was 19-years-old when he signed up for the Australian Imperial Force in 1917 and was the last Australian survivor from the battles on the Western Front in France and Belgium.
Mr Casserly avoided Anzac Day parades, but attended the last two.
His 81-year-old son, Peter Casserly Jnr, says his father had welcomed the offer of a state funeral.

"He knew they wanted to do that and it made him quite pleased, cause the state funeral proposition was put to my father as far back as 18 months or two years ago," he said.
Western Australian Premier Geoff Gallop has described Mr Casserly as a remarkable person who is deserving of a state funeral.

"He lived through three centuries, of course he was the last remaining link between contemporary Western Australians and the great Anzac tradition that was forged, not only in Gallipoli but of course in Europe and it's a tragedy that that link has now been broken," he said.

The Prime Minister has paid tribute to Mr Casserly.
John Howard says he was part of a great generation.
"The death of the last surviving link with protracted battles that in themselves claim more than 45,000 lives of the 60,000 Australians who died in World War I, it is an important significant passing," he said.

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