Friday, 6 June 2008

Happy Birthday Henry - 112 Today!

"cigarettes, whisky and wild women..."

"Britain's oldest man, thought to be one of three surviving UK World War I veterans, is celebrating reaching his 112th birthday.

Henry Allingham, who was born in London on 6 June 1896, is also the last surviving original member of the Royal Air Force - formed 90 years ago.

Mr Allingham, from Ovingdean, near Brighton, will celebrate at Royal Air Force College Cranwell, Lincolnshire.

The event will include a fly past by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

There will also be a parachute jump display.

The event will be attended by Air Vice Marshal Peter Dye (retd) and Vice Admiral Sir Adrian Johns.

As well as the fly past and the parachute jump by the Royal Air Force Falcons Parachute Display Team, Mr Allingham's birthday will be marked by a visit from local school children who will give him a cake.


Now partially deaf and almost blind, Mr Allingham, who was born in Clapham, London, now lives at St Dunstan's home for blind ex-servicemen, in Ovingdean.

His life has spanned six monarchs and has taken in 21 prime ministers.

Mr Allingham is the last survivor of the Battle of Jutland in 1916, and also fought at the Somme and Ypres where he was bombed and shelled.

He joined the Royal Air Force when it was formed from the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) and the Army's Flying Corps in 1918.

His many medals and honours include the British War Medal, the Victory Medal and the Legion D'Honneur - the highest military accolade awarded by France.

He has joked that the secret to his longevity is "cigarettes, whisky and wild women".

BBC News (includes video)
Henry Allingham

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