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Henry Allingham

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Henry Allingham
Henry Allingham at the Imperial War Museum on 26 June 2006
Born(1896-06-06)6 June 1896
Clapton, London, England
Died18 July 2009(2009-07-18) (aged 113)
Ovingdean, East Sussex, England
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Navy
 Royal Air Force
Years of serviceAugust 1915 – 16 April 1919
RankRigger Aero, Aircraft Mechanic Second Class
UnitRoyal Naval Air Service, Great Yarmouth Naval Air Station
No. 12 Squadron RNAS
Aircraft Depot, Dunkirk
Battles/warsFirst World War
AwardsFreedom of the town of Eastbourne
Freedom of the Town of Saint-Omer
Freeman of Brighton and Hove[1]
Officer Légion d'honneur
British War Medal
Victory Medal
Gold Medal of Saint-Omer
Other workFord Motor Company

Henry Allingham (born London, 6 June 1896 - 18 July 2009) was a British supercentenarian and a First World War veteran. He was an engineer for most of his life. For the last month of his life he was the oldest living man in the world (according to official records). He became the oldest man ever in Britain.

Early life

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Allingham as a baby

Allingham was born on 6 June 1896 in Clapton, London, England. Henry went to a London County Council school and then the Regent Street Polytechnic. Allingham remembered seeing the City Imperial Volunteers return from the Second Boer War, and watching W. G. Grace play cricket. He Joined the Royal Naval Air Service in 1915. He became an Air Mechanic First Class. Most of his life he was an engineer. He designed new car bodies for the Ford Motor Company in Dagenham.[2]

Longevity record

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Allingham was the oldest ever member of any of the British Armed Forces and the oldest veteran of the First World War. He was the last survivor of the Battle of Jutland, the last surviving member of the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) and the last surviving founding member of the Royal Air Force. He was a member of the World War One Veterans' Association.

Between his 110th and 111th birthdays Allingham made over 60 public appearances, including a visit to The Oval on 5 June 2007 (the day before his 111th birthday), where he was wheeled around the boundary in front of the spectators. James Sisnett later surpassed Allingham's record and later became the second oldest man in the world.

With the help of Denis Goodwin, he wrote a book about his life. It was published on 23 September 2008.

Allingham planned to leave his body to medical science.[3] Allingham said that Denis Goodwin persuaded him to change his mind, because he had become a symbol of the war. So he had a funeral and cremation.

War medals and awards

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The Officier Légion d'honneur. Awarded to Allingham in 2009.

Henry Allingham had four medals, two of which were from the First World War.

Henry Allingham funeral passes St Dunstan's on the way to the church of San Nicholas.

Allingham died on 18 July 2009 in his home in Ovingdean, East Sussex from natural causes, aged 113. A funeral service was held for Allingham at the San Nicolas Church.

The BBC asked Carol Ann Duffy, the Poet laureate, to write a poem to mark the deaths of Allingham and Harry Patch (who died one week after Allingham on 25 July 2009).

A plaque was placed next to Allingham's home to honor his longevity record in Ovingdean, West Sussex.


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  1. "Hero Henry Allingham "honoured" to be given freedom of Brighton and Hove". The Argus (Brighton). 2009-04-30. Retrieved 2009-07-19.
  2. "Henry Allingham: Last surviving Navy veteran of the Great War who". The Independent. 2009-07-19. Retrieved 2023-12-09.
  3. The Last Fighting Tommy, Harry Patch
Preceded by
Tomoji Tanabe
Oldest recognised living man
19 June 2009 – 18 July 2009
Succeeded by
Walter Breuning
Preceded by
John Evans
Oldest man ever from the United Kingdom
29 March 2009 – present
Succeeded by