18 July 2009

Henry Allingham RIP

Henry Allingham has died at the age of 113. He was the world’s oldest man,the last survivor of the Battle of Jutland, the last surviving member of the Royal Naval Air Service and the last surviving founder member of the Royal Air Force.

Tributes were paid to Mr Allingham by the Queen, Prince Charles and The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. Mr Allingham served with the Royal Naval Air Service in WWI, later transferring to the Royal Air Force at the time of its creation.

Dennis Goodwin, founder of the First World War Veterans' Association and a friend of Mr Allingham, said: "Henry was truly a gentleman - his strength of character, his purpose.He left quite a legacy to the nation of memories of what it was like to have been in WWI,"

First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Jonathon Band said: "Henry will be remembered with great fondness for his strong sense of humour and joy of life, and he was an inspiration for all those serving in the Royal Navy." Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy, Chief of the Air Staff, said his passing was a "milestone in history. Henry was an inspiration to many and his thirst for life, cheery disposition and a desire to help others was his mark," he added.

His nephew Ronald Cator said his uncle looked "very, very frail. He went downhill in the last few months. He used to sleep a lot at the end. He wanted to pass away, poor old boy."

A young Henry Allingham

For decades, like many other war veterans, Mr Allingham buried his memories of the war, avoiding reunions and refusing to tell his family about his experiences. But, in recent years, he started making public appearances to make sure new generations did not forget the toll of war and went on to tell his life story in a book which was published last year.

His death means there are now only four WWI veterans still alive: Britons Harry Patch, 111, and Claude Choules, 108(now living in Australia) American Frank Buckles and Canadian John Babcock, who both live in the USA
RIP Henry

11 comments:

James Higham said...

Yes indeed. Have posted.

Tina said...

proud age...

jams o donnell said...

James definitely a man worth a tribute. It was a great age Tina

Anonymous said...

I talked about him this morning. RIP Henry, I feel sad this group has dwindled so much. I know how he feels about not wanting to talk about his experiences too.

The TEFL Tradesman said...

Apparently, he put his longevity down to good food, plenty of booze, and bad women. An example to us all?!

jams o donnell said...

Sad but inevitable Alison. My Dad took a long time to talk about WWII

Most definitely TEFL Tradesman. Perhaps I will live to 120... if I can get a few bad women!

Starnitesky said...

RIP Henry, thanks for this lovely tribute.

jams o donnell said...

THanks Starnitesky

Pouty Lips said...

This was a very tasteful tribute to a brave man. May he rest in peace.

TechnoBabe said...

There has been so much on the news and internet about this lovely man. It was nice to ready your post. I did not know him but I can admire his accomplishments and join with all the others to pay tribute to him.

jams o donnell said...

Pouty, TechnoBabe Thanks for your kind comment. I have been tracking the deaths of WWI veterans for a couple of eyars now. That may sound a little morbid but each passing brings the experience of that war one step closer to passing from living memory to history proper