The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

May 2, 2013

VIDEO: Documentary features World War I veteran who had ties to region

LAMAR, Mo. — A documentary about Frank Buckles — the last American veteran of World War I — will be shown later this month in Lamar. Buckles, who died in 2011 at the age of 110, had ties to Southwest Missouri.

The movie, “Pershing’s Last Patriot,” will be shown at 8:45 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, at the Barco Drive-In, 57 S.E. 25th Lane, Lamar.

Dave DeJonge, of Grand Rapids, Mich., said Thursday that his film is about “95 percent finished.” He still wants to add high-resolution archival footage, do final editing and enter film festivals.

The screening of the documentary is part of an effort to raise money to finish the film and to continue Buckles’ campaign for a memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., honoring all U.S. veterans of World War I.

Buckles was born Feb. 1, 1901, in Bethany, not far from the birthplace of Missouri’s own John J. “Black Jack” Pershing, the general who led American troops during World War I. When he was still a boy, Buckles moved with his family to Walker, in Vernon County, where he attended school.

He enlisted in the Army in 1917, when he was 16 years old, and served until the end of the war. He never saw combat, serving as an ambulance driver in England and France. After Armistice Day in 1918, he helped return prisoners of war to Germany.

He returned to the United States in 1920 as a corporal.

But that was not the end of his adventures.

Buckles later traveled the world working for shipping companies, including the White Star Line, and he was in Manila in the Philippines in 1941 when the Japanese invaded. He was a prisoner of war for more than three years and was held at the infamous Los Banos Prison Camp until he was rescued in 1945. After returning to the United States, he settled on a farm in West Virginia.

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