Oldest Great War veteran dies at 109

Raymond Abescat, believed to be the world's oldest First World War veteran, has died in France at the age of 109.

Raymond Abescat, believed to be the world's oldest First World War veteran, has died in France at the age of 109.

The former infantryman died at a hospital in Rueil-Malmaison outside Paris.

Abescat joined the military in October 1912 and spent seven years with an infantry regiment.

In 1916 he was seriously wounded near Verdun, where fighting cost the lives of 250,000 French and German soldiers.

After the war, Abescat joined a state financing agency, the Caisse des depots et consignations, where he worked until his retirement in 1957.

His funeral is to be held on Wednesday in a church in Sainte-Mathilde de Puteaux in suburban Paris, where he lived, his family said.

The number of France's surviving Great War veterans has dropped from about 1,500 to 250 in the past three years, according to the country's Veterans Ministry.

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