Special Report

The Oldest Living Veterans of WWII

Source: Historical / Getty Images

Joseph Eskenazi
> Born: 1917
> Age as of Feb. 13: 105 years, 14 days
> Home country: United States

Joseph Eskenazi, an army veteran, is the oldest military survivor of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Eskenazi was asleep in the Schofield Barracks when the attack took place. The Redondo Beach, California, resident risked getting strafed by Japanese fighters as he drove a bulldozer across barracks grounds to clear burning American planes off the runways. He was honored at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans on Jan. 11, 2023, as the oldest survivor of the attack. He celebrated his 105th birthday later that month.

Ena Joyce St. Clare Collymore-Woodstock
> Born: 1917
> Age as of Feb. 13: 105 years, 156 days
> Home country: Great Britain

Jamaican-born Ena Joyce St. Clare Collymore-Woodstock is one of Great Britain’s oldest survivors of World War II and one of the first Black female radar operators. She enlisted in 1943 and survived a torpedo attack on the ship she took to London. Collymore-Woodstock became one of the “Ack Ack Girls,” who assisted in the operation of anti-aircraft guns firing at German bombers. She was responsible for tracking the path of incoming enemy planes.

After the war, Collymore-Woodstock became a lawyer and pursued a legal career lasting 40 years. In 1959, she became the first woman magistrate to preside over civil court in Jamaica.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Jiro Tanaka
> Born: 1917
> Age as of Feb. 13: 106 years, 28 days
> Home country: Japan

Jiro Tanaka served in the Imperial Japanese Army as an aircraft and automotive engineer. He enlisted in the army in October 1939 and evaluated new engines for army aircraft. In 1944, he was tasked with completing the design of the Tachikawa Ki-74, an experimental long-range reconnaissance bomber. Tanaka joined the Tokyo Electric Car Company after the war.

Makoto Ogawa
> Born: 1917
> Age as of Feb. 13: 106 years
> Home country: Japan

Makoto Ogawa is Japan’s oldest surviving pilot from World War II. He became an ace by downing seven American B-29 Superfortresses and two P-51 Mustangs during the war. He was awarded the Bukosho, the highest award given by the Imperial Japanese Army to living soldiers who demonstrated exceptional valor action in combat.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Mihai Șora
> Born: 1916
> Age as of Feb. 13: 106 years, 98 days
> Home country: Romania

A philosopher and writer, Mihai Șora went to France to get his doctorate when the Second World War broke out. He joined the French Resistance and fought the Nazis. He was appointed education minister of Romania in 1989 after the revolution that year ousted the dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu. Șora is an advocate for globalization and diversity.

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