Maurice Noël Floquet (Poissons, 25 December 1894 – Montauroux, 10 November 2006) was, at age 111, France's oldest man on record and was one of the last surviving French veterans of World War I. He was, at the age of 111 years and 320 days, France's longest-lived soldier ever. Moreover, Maurice was France's oldest living man for more than four years. France's oldest person was a woman, Jeanne Calment, aged 122 years 164 days when she died, who still remains the oldest verified person ever, is more than a decade older than Floquet.
During the First World War
Floquet was in the artillery during World War I. His military history has been variously reported. It was said that he joined in September 1914 and served on the Belgian front in December 1914. He was wounded on several occasions. The first of these wounds came at the Second Battle of the Marne. A second occurred at the Somme during hand-to-hand fighting with bayonets. The third wound occurred at Beauséjour part of the Neuve Chapelle; a lump of rock pierced Maurice's throat and obstructed his breathing. By all accounts it was an enemy soldier who removed the rock and so saved Maurice's life.
A year later, and back on the front line, Maurice was again wounded in the head and left arm when a grenade exploded. The hole in Maurice's head was patched up by a nurse who found a piece of someone else's cartilage. Maurice's outer ear was blown off. After recuperating, toward the end of the war, Maurice was sent to a bomb factory, and was decommissioned in 1919.
Maurice still had a German bullet lodged in his arm.
After the war
After the war, Maurice married and became a tractor repairman. He worked his garden until he was over age 100. At age 110 he still rode an exercise bike for 20 minutes a day in the backyard of his apartment — an unusual feat for a supercentenarian. However, by November 2006, Floquet was described as 'confined to bed'.
Maurice became France's oldest living veteran on 30 March 2002, following the passing of 109-year-old Hilaire D'Harboulle. He may also have become the oldest living man in France.
In May 2006, Maurice became France's oldest verified man on record, when he surpassed Algerian-born Émile Fourcade (1884–1995), who lived to age 111 years and 153 days.
By all accounts, Maurice enjoyed watching sports on TV and, being a little vain, didn't like to wear his eyeglasses. He was allowed one full glass of red wine every day — and champagne on special occasions.
In October 2006, Maurice sent letters to Henry Allingham (then Britain's oldest man and oldest living veteran) and Robert Meier (Germany's oldest man and oldest living veteran at the time). The three shared the unique status of each being both the oldest man and oldest veteran of their respective countries. (France's then newly crowned oldest man, Aimé Avignon, who was born on 2 February 1897, thus making him almost 110 years old, did not serve in the war.) At the time of his death, Floquet was the oldest living man in Europe.
Floquet died at the age of 111 years and 320 days. He died just one day before the 88th anniversary of the end of World War I. At the time of his death, he was the 22nd oldest verified undisputed man ever.
- News from France, 13 April 2005 (PDF format), URL accessed on 31 May 2006
- France Agonizes Over How To Remember World War I Veterans (History News Network)
- Le doyen des poilus de la Grande Guerre s'éteint à l'âge de 111 ans, Le Monde, 10 November 2006 (report of his death in French)