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British WWI veteran dies

world Updated: Jan 12, 2009 22:24 IST

William Stone, one of just four surviving British veterans of World War I, died over the weekend at the age of 108, the Ministry of Defence said on Monday.

Stone served 27 years with Britain's Royal Navy, spanning both world wars, and passed away peacefully on Saturday, the HMS Hood Association, the veterans' grouping of one of the ships he served on, confirmed on its website.

Born September 23, 1900, Stone first tried to join the Royal Navy aged just 15, but his father refused to sign off on the attempt because he already had three elder sons serving in the military.

On his 18th birthday, though, Stone signed up to the Navy and first sailed with the battlecruiser HMS Tiger, before joining the Hood from 1922 to 1924.

Stone's wife Lily, whom he married in 1938, died in 1995, and he is survived by his daughter Anne, who was born in 1939.

The only known remaining veterans of World War I are 112-year-old Henry Allingham and 110-year-old Harry Patch, both of whom live in Britain, and 107-year-old Claude Choules, who lives in Australia.