Last Surviving American WWI Soldier Dies at 110

Monday, Feb 28, 2011  |  Updated 4:00 PM EDT
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Last Surviving American WWI Soldier Dies at 110

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CHARLES TOWN, WV - MARCH 19: World War I veteran Frank Buckles, 108 years old, waits for the arrival of British Defence Secretary John Hutton, who paid a visit to present him with a framed print titled 'Side by Side' March 19, 2009 in Charles Town, West Virginia. Buckles, who served overseas in England and France, is the last surviving WWI veteran. Buckles drove ambulances and motorcycles for the Army's 1st Fort Riley Casual Detachment. After the Armistice in 1918, Buckles escorted prisoners of war back to Germany. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The last surviving American veteran of World War I died Sunday.

Frank Buckles died of natural causes at his home in Charles Town, W.Va. He was 110.

Buckles was repeatedly rejected by military recruiters but wanted badly to join the military, so at 16, he lied about his age and was accepted into the Army.

In 2007, he told his story to the Associated Press of how he tricked an Army captain demanding to see his birth certificate.

“I told him birth certificates were not made in Missouri when I was born, that the record was in a family Bible. I asked him ‘You don’t want me to bring the family Bible down, do you?’ He said ‘OK, we’ll take you.’”

Born in 1901, Buckles enlisted Aug. 14, 1917.  After Armistice Day, he helped return prisoners of war to Germany and came back to the U.S. in January 1920.

He married his wife, Audrey, in 1946, and they had one daughter, Susannah Flanagan.

Audrey Buckles died in 1999.

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