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How many WWI and WWII veterans are still alive?

There are still thousands of Second World War veterans living, none have survived to 2021 who fought in the First World War.

Darrell Bush, 96, left, a former US Army Staff Sgt., from Camp Springs, Maryland, and a WWII veteran of the Battle of the Bulge, places a flower with his wife Dorothy Bush, during a centennial commemoration event at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, in Arl
Alex BrandonAFP

The 20th century, like every century in history, was marred with many bloody and destructive conflicts. After long bouts of international and diplomatic isolation, the US threw itself into the two largest conflicts, the First and Second World Wars, in which US troops fought in the jungles of the Philippines, the knee-high mud of Flanders, and the bombed out wastelands of the Rhine, to name just a few battlefields.

Veterans Day is to celebrate these fighters, as well as those who have given their lives in countless other conflicts in the last 150 years. Many veterans still survive today, and they form a central part of remembrance on November 11.

The First World War

As of 2011 there are no surviving veterans of The Great War. Despite more than 4 million soldiers being mobilized, and more than 65,000 being killed in the short amount of time, the fact that the war ended more than 100 years ago makes it impossible that someone called up to fight could be alive today. The last soldier living was Frank Buckles, an ambulance driver on the Western Front. He was a part of the United States Army 1st Fort Riley Casual Detachment, joining in 1917. He lived in Charles Town, West Virginia and died 27 February 2011. President Obama was present at his funeral.

While the last US veterans died in 2011, the last surviving veteran of any country was Florence Green, a British woman who served in the Women's Royal Air Force (WRAF). She died on 4 February 2012.

The Second World War

Due to it being much more recent than the First World War, thousands of veterans from the 1940s war are still alive today. According to US Department of Veterans Affairs statistics, 240,329 of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II are alive in 2021. All Second World War records for the US can be found here. It is estimated that 234 veterans are dying every day, and that they will nearly all be gone by 2032.

In total, more than 70 million soldiers fought in the Second World War from all nations involved.