Henry passes away at 113

WORLD WAR I veteran, former Ford Dagenham worker and the oldest man on the planet has died, aged 113 years and 42 days. Henry Allingham, who passed away on Saturday July 18, lived out his final years at the St Dunstan s Centre for blind ex-servicemen near

WORLD WAR I veteran, former Ford Dagenham worker and the oldest man on the planet has died, aged 113 years and 42 days.

Henry Allingham, who passed away on Saturday July 18, lived out his final years at the St Dunstan's Centre for blind ex-servicemen near Brighton.

He saw many benchmarks in his lifetime, not least being crowned Britain's oldest man in March and then the world's oldest man later this year.

Henry was born in Upper Clacton, Essex, in 1896, the son of an Ironmonger's clerk.


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In 1901 he saw the funeral of Queen Victoria, one of his earliest memories, and then the next year the coronation of King Edward VII, perched on his grandfather's shoulders.

Henry joined the army in 1915 after the death of his mother, who had not wanted her son to go to war in Europe.

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But Henry was determined to serve his country and joined the Royal Naval Air Service, graduating as a skilled mechanic from Great Yarmouth.

Henry was the last survivor of the Battle of Jutland and was one of just two World War I veterans alive in the UK.

He was also the last living founder member of the RAF.

In 1935 Henry came to Dagenham to work at the Ford plant, embarking on a career as a design engineer.

He stayed here until his retirement in 1961.

Last year Henry was finally made a chartered engineer, after receiving his certificate from the Institute of Royal Engineers he said his "lifetime's goal was finally realised".

Henry was also made an honourary Freeman of Brighton and will be sadly missed by his family and all those who cared for him at St Dunstan's.

But Henry Allingham's death is more than just the loss of a life; it is the loss of a reminder that ordinary people are capable of heroism and courage.

That boys like Henry joined the army because they believed in preserving England for future generations and were willing to sacrifice themselves to that end.

He said himself that he owed his life to those friends "who made the supreme sacrifice".

Henry, who saw three centuries in his lifetime, left behind 12 great-grandchildren, 14 great-great-grandchildren and one great-great-great-grandchild.

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