Veteran shocked to read his own obituary after Army newsletter ‘exaggerated’

A veteran was shocked to read his own obituary in a forces' newsletter.

Col. Ron Back channeled Mark Twain after the mishap in the Airborne Network.

The chair of the Royal British Legion New Milton & District Branch told the Advertiser & Times: “The details printed about me were correct – apart from the obvious.

"It will certainly make a nice after-dinner story, whenever I might get a chance to tell any after-dinner stories!

“It’s not something everybody gets to do – read their own obituary!”

Col. Back said the announcement published last November got his birth in 1936 and commission in 1955 to the Royal Artillery right.

His branch secretary Phyllis Inglis informed him after she was asked about his reported death by a committee member.

Col. Back discovered the newsletter’s editor had been a fellow member of the 44th Parachute Brigade in the early 1970s.

The editor had been passed the false information from one of Col. Back's contemporaries in 33rd Airborne Light Regiment, who in turn had heard it from a friend.

He added: "I’ve spoken to the editor who apologised and said he would make sure he checks his facts more carefully in future.

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“It was a bit of a Mark Twain moment – the news of my death is greatly exaggerated!”

American writer and humourist Mark Twain was contacted in 1897 by a New York Journal reporter who had heard rumours he was gravely ill or already dead.

Mr Twain confirmed he was in fact in good health in a statement that included the famous phrase: “The report of my death was an exaggeration.”

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