Listen free for 30 days

The Last Fighting Tommy

Narrated by: Alan Howard
Length: 3 hrs and 34 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (47 ratings)

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

Summary

Harry Patch, the last British soldier alive to have fought in the trenches of the First World War, is now 109 years old and one of very few people who can directly recall the horror of that conflict.

After a rural childhood in Somerset, Harry left school in 1913 to become a plumber. Three years later, he was fighting in the mud and trenches during the Battle of Passchendaele. He saw a great many of his comrades die, and in one dreadful moment the shell that wounded him killed his three closest friends.

Harry vividly describes the terror and intensity of daily life in the trenches. The Second World War saw him in action on the home front as a fire-fighter during the bombing of Bath. Late in life, Harry achieved fame, meeting the Queen and taking part in the BBC documentary The Last Tommy, finally shaking hands with a German veteran of the artillery, and speaking out frankly to Prime Minister Tony Blair about the soldiers shot for cowardice in the First World War.

This is the story of an ordinary man's extraordinary life.

©2007 Richard van Emden (P)2008 Hachette Audio

Critic reviews

"[An]extraordinary autobiography... a moving, non-sentimental account by the very last witness of a devastating four years in Britain's history." ( Daily Mail)

"For Harry Patch, born in 1898 and wounded at Passchendaele, November 11 is just showbiz. He remembers September 22: the day his two best mates were killed. This really is living history."(The Guardian)

"We hear Harry's own husky measured voice in the introduction; the rest of his story is narrated by Alan Howard, who nicely recaptures his character."(The Times)

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    35
  • 4 Stars
    10
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    16
  • 4 Stars
    8
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    24
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Richard
  • Sheffield, South Yorkshire, United Kingdom
  • 24-01-09

Haunting & Inspiring

A fantastic story from a truly fantastic man, highly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Not a story of war, but of an ordinary chap

Brilliant. Loved it. Worth every minute.
This isn't just about his time in the trenches, but is more about his life and how he came to find his way to the trenches of France in WW1. A great recollection that tells the story which might otherwise be forgotten. The "none war" bits of the story are equally compelling. It's got up's and down's as you'd expect, and is a highly recommended read/listen.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

fantastic insight

really enjoyed listening to this book, dear old Harry Patch. It gives a great insight not just into his war service but also his life before and after the war. It is also a great snap shot of what life in general was like and how we lived 100 years ago.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating

Incredible piece of both social and Military history.
Well worth listening to whether you are interested in history or not.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Humbled

This book is a reminder of what our troops faced in order for us to have our freedom
Harry patch is a true icon I was very moved and so glad he told us his story I now want to study about the First World War it can teach us about life in general, the human tragedy is unthinkable

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Harry Patch

This is a nice book, but please do not think it is about the First World War, this is a book about Harry Patch, a great man, but it is not a soldiers story

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kevin
  • salford, United Kingdom
  • 16-10-12

lovely book

this book made me think of the sacrifices the men of the wars made for us, really funny in places too !

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tony
  • Roade, Northants, United Kingdom
  • 09-11-08

History in your own lifetime.

Made you appreciate what these young men went through not so very long ago.