November 28, 2005

Last of Canada’s WWI front-line vets dies at 106

TORONTO (Reuters) - The last Canadian veteran of the First
World War's front lines has died. He was 106.

Clarence "Clare" Laking, who was a field artillery private
during the 1914-18 war, died in a Toronto hospital on Saturday.

He enlisted in the army at 18 against his father's wishes,
according to a hospital statement, and served with the Canadian
Field Artillery, 27th Battery 4th Brigade.

He was paid C$1.10 a day and his unenviable duty was to run
on to the battlefield when the first enemy shell hit and call
in the location of its impact to allied gunners.

After the war, Laking farmed in Alberta and then moved to
Toronto. He had a driver's license until he was 102 and had
season tickets for the National Hockey League's Toronto Maple
Leafs until he was 100, the hospital said.

He had two children, four grandchildren and nine

There are four other Canadian survivors of the First World
War armed forces but none of them saw battle.

"Of the four (veterans) now remaining we know they were
young and never saw action," Janice Summerby, spokeswoman for
Veterans Affairs Canada, said on Monday.