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 John Henry Foster “Jack” Babcock

Photo added by Bobb Edwards

John Henry Foster “Jack” Babcock

  • Birth 23 Jul 1900 Holleford, Frontenac County, Ontario, Canada
  • Death 18 Feb 2010 Spokane, Spokane County, Washington, USA
  • Burial Medical Lake, Spokane County, Washington, USA
  • Memorial ID 48327680

Military Figure. He was Canada's last surviving veteran of World War I. The son of a sawmill operator who died in a work-related accident, he was raised on a farm near Kingston, Ontario. In February 1916, the 15 year-old Babcock enlisted with the 146th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, but was kept from being sent overseas because he was underage. The following year he bluffed his way to England with the 26th Reserve, but again his age was discovered and he spent the rest of the conflict assigned to the non-combatant Young Soldiers Battalion, training to fight. WWI ended months before he was eligible for deployment in France. "My service didn't amount to much", he said many years later. After the war Babcock moved to the United States and served in the US Army from 1921 to 1924, attaining the rank of sergeant; later he settled in Spokane, Washington, where he worked as an electrician. He became an American citizen in 1946. During World War II he tried to re-enlist in the Army but was rejected, ironically enough, as being too old. Babcock remained physically and mentally sharp well past his retirement, earning a pilot's license at 65 and his high school diploma at 94. Feeling he did not deserve to be called a veteran because he saw no fighting, he refused to speak publicly of his WWI experiences until he turned 100, after which he astonished interviewers with his almost total recall. In 2008 he reclaimed his Canadian citizenship but declined an offer (signed by over 100,000 petitioners) of a state funeral in Ottawa. Instead he expressed the wish to be cremated and have his ashes scattered over the mountains near Spokane, where he had loved to hike. Babcock died in Spokane at the age of 109.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bobb Edwards
  • Added: 19 Feb 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 48327680
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for John Henry Foster “Jack” Babcock (23 Jul 1900–18 Feb 2010), Find A Grave Memorial no. 48327680, citing Washington State Veterans Cemetery, Medical Lake, Spokane County, Washington, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .