On February 27, 2011, Frank Woodruff Buckles passed away. At the time of his death, he was one of THREE surviving World War I veterans in the world, and the only American of the group of three.
Buckles enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1917 at the age of 17. He shipped over to Europe on the RMS Carpathia (the ship which responded to and rescued suvivors from the RMS Titanic only five years before), where he served with 1st Fort Riley Casual Detachment driving motorcycles and ambulances in England and France.
During WWII while working as a civilian for a shipping company in the Philippines he was captured by the Japanese and spent 3.5 years in Los Banos prision camp until being rescued in 1945.
He returned to the United States and settled in San Francisco until the 1950s, when he got out of the shipwork and retired to the Gap View Farm (330 acres in West Virginia).
A long-time Missouri Freemason, he received the Knight Command of the Court of Honor (KCCH) on September 24, 2008 in a ceremony hosted by Ronald Seale (33rd, Grand Commander of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Southern Jurisdiction) with a keynote address by James Peake, United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
He was also awarded the French Legion of Honor, the Patrick Henry Medallion, the World War I Victory Medal and the Army Occupation of Germany Medal.
You can find out more about Brother Buckles, KCCH here:
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Frank Buckles, WWI Veteran, Freemason Passes 2/27/11
I received this story yesterday from brother Shawn Bell in California: