November 28, 2018 / 10:49 AM / a year ago

WW2 veteran and political campaigner Harry Leslie Smith dies at 95

(Reuters) - Harry Leslie Smith, a British World War Two veteran who became a prominent anti-poverty campaigner, died on Tuesday aged 95.

Spurred by the 2008 global economic crash, Smith took up writing and public speaking on political issues in his 80s and rose to fame in 2014 after giving a speech on social justice at a Labour Party conference.

In February, the blogger and podcaster announced he was going on a world tour of refugee hotspots “to document this preventable tragedy that may lead us to another war as gruesome as the one I helped fight against Hitler”.

He was in Canada as part of that tour when he had a fall and was hospitalised in Belleville, Ontario with suspected pneumonia last week.

“At 3:39 this morning, my dad Harry Leslie Smith died. I am an orphan,” tweeted his son John who took over his father’s Twitter account, @Harryslaststand, which has a quarter of a million followers, last week.

Smith survived Britain’s pre-war economic depression in abject poverty and spent much of his later life campaigning to ensure others did not experience the same, his son said. Besides healthcare and refugee advocacy, Smith wrote several books since turning 87.

Reporting by Brendan O'Brien; Writing by Robin Poperoy; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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