Buckles had a history that was more than just being in uniform during the first world war. He also survived being a civilian prisoner during World War II when he was in a POW camp in the Philippines during that war.
According to media reports, Buckles died peacefully in his home in Charles Town. He had just turned 110 on February 1 and was a leading advocate for a national World War I monument in Washington, D.C. His cause of death has not been determined, as yet.
Buckles’ story is amazing. He was only 16-years-old when he enlisted to join U.S. soldiers who were headed off to fight in World War I. He lied about his age to get in. During the course of the war he drove an ambulance.
Now, in the rest of the world, there are only a handful of known World War I surviving veterans. A man in Australia, who is 109, is believed to be still alive. Also, a 110-year-old British woman is also believed to still be living and also served in The Great War. When the war ended it was believed that some 65 million men and women had survived the war.
Buckles was one of 4.7 million Americans who enlisted to fight in the war. He served in England and France. His main duties were those of driving an ambulance and working as a clerk. He reportedly did not see combat directly.
When the war ended he stayed to help transport German prisoners back to Germany. He also used his time off to try and learn German, visit cathedrals and historic sits and learn and absorb cultures throughout Europe. He came back to the United States in 1920.
During World War II he was working as a businessman in the Philippines when the Japanese attacked and captured those islands. He then spent 3 ½ years in a Japanese prison camp.