WWII vet, social activist Harry Leslie Smith dies at 95

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WWII vet, social activist Harry Leslie Smith dies at 95
This Sept. 24, 2014 photo shows World War II veteran and political activist Harry Leslie Smith speaking during the Labour Party annual conference, in Manchester. His son John said on Twitter that Smith died Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018 in Canada at 95 after being hospitalized following a recent fall. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP)

LONDON (AP) — British World War II veteran and political activist Harry Leslie Smith has died. He was 95.

His son John said on Twitter that Smith died Wednesday morning. He had been hospitalized in critical condition in Canada following a recent fall.

Smith’s son said that when his father realized he could not fully recover from his fall, he quenched an overwhelming thirst with a beer even though he was unable to eat anything.

Smith was an outspoken human rights activist with a Twitter following of more than 250,000. He had come to prominence in recent years with his advocacy of the National Health Service and the need to protect refugees, and was a strong critic of Britain’s austerity program.

In recent years he had toured refugee camps to highlight their plight. He said he had witnessed scenes like that in his youth and couldn’t bear to see them repeated in his old age without speaking out.

He argued that greed and globalism were stripping away the advances wrought by his generation, which had survived the Great Depression and World War II and built a more just society.

Former Labour Party leader Ed Miliband tweeted that Smith was “one of a kind who never wavered in his fight for equality and justice. We should all carry his passion, optimism and spirit forward.”