Yod Sangrungruang, Thailand’s last World War I veteran, died on Oct. 9 from natural causes. He was 106.
Sangrungruang was conscripted into the Thai army when he was 20 years old. He volunteered to fight with Allied forces in France during World War I and served for 15 months.
The “Good Man of Phitsanulok” returned to Thailand in 1919 as the sole surviving member of the 1,284 Thai soldiers who fought in Europe as part of the Royal Thai Expeditionary Force. He received a medal from King Rama V then returned to Phitsanulok where he was elected village leader.
Eighty years after he left the service, Yod was given an honorary promotion to the rank of second lieutenant. In 1999, he became the first Thai to receive the Legion d’Honneur, the highest decoration given by the French government.
Sangrungruang is survived by his wife, Somporn, 101, and eight of their nine children.