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World War I Veteran Abescat Dies

August 28, 2001

PARIS (AP) _ Raymond Abescat, believed to be the world’s oldest World War I veteran, has died at age 109, France’s Veterans Ministry announced.

The Frenchman, who would have turned 110 on Sept. 10, died Saturday at a hospital in Rueil-Malmaison outside Paris, his family said. The Veterans Ministry announced the death Monday.

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 where he worked until his retirement in 1957.

Funeral services were scheduled for Wednesday in a church in Sainte-Mathilde de Puteaux in suburban Paris, where Abescat 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 Veterans Ministry.

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