Frank Buckles, who survived being a civilian prisoner of war in the Philippines in World War II, died of natural causes Sunday at his home in Charles Town, W.V. He was 110.
Mr. Buckles would have wanted people to remember him as "the last torchbearer" for World War I. When asked how it felt to be the last of his kind, he said, "I realized that somebody had to be, and it was me."
Born in Missouri in 1901 and raised in Oklahoma, Mr. Buckles visited a string of military recruiters after the U.S. entered the "war to end all wars" in April 1917. He was repeatedly rejected before convincing an Army captain that he was 18. He was actually 16½.
Mr. Buckles never saw combat but joked, "Didn't I make every effort? He served in England and France, working mainly as a driver and a warehouse clerk. A student of culture and language, he used his off-duty hours to learn German, visit cathedrals, museums and tombs, and bicycle in the French countryside.
After Armistice Day, Mr. Buckles helped return prisoners of war to Germany. He returned to the U.S. in January 1920.