Canadian WW1 vet to become a Canadian citizen

Fri May 9, 2008 4:56pm EDT
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Canada's last known surviving veteran of World War One is becoming a Canadian citizen, the government said on Friday.

John Babcock, 107, was born in Canada but became a U.S. citizen in 1946 and had to give up his status as a British subject - as Canadians were designated before Canada's own citizenship act came into force a year later.

Canadian officials recently visited Babcock at his home in Spokane, Washington, to give him an award, and he told them he was interested in being granted citizenship in his birth country.

"This means the last known soldier to serve Canada in the First World War will forever be a Canadian," Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement.

Babcock was only 15 years old and lied about his age when he joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He moved to the United States in the 1920s.

(Reporting Allan Dowd, Editing by Peter Galloway)