Harry Patch of Wells, Somerset, was the last surviving soldier to have fought in the trenches of the First World War.
He was born at Combe Down, near Bath, in June 1898, and was called up in October 1916, serving as a private in the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. He fought at the Battle of Passchendaele as part of a Lewis Gun team. On 22 September 1917 he was seriously wounded by shrapnel from a shell which killed three of his closest friends.
Harry did not talk about the war for 80 years, but then became a strong advocate for peace and an inspirational figure. When he died in July 2009, aged 111 years, he was the oldest man in Europe.
Portrait on Display
The portrait of Harry Patch by Bill Leyshon (2007) will be displayed at the Museum as part of the Faces of Conflict exhibition. The exhibition includes a display of Victoria Crosses, awarded to soldiers from Somerset during the First World War.