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World's oldest man, WWI veteran dies


Mary
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Only death could silence Henry Allingham.

 

He went to war as a teenager, helped keep flimsy aircraft flying, survived his wounds and came home from World War I to a long ? very long ? and fruitful life.

 

But only in his last years did he discover his true mission: to remind new generations of the sacrifices of the millions slaughtered in the trenches, killed in the air, or lost at sea in what Britons call the Great War.

 

Allingham, who was the world's oldest man when he died Saturday at 113, attributed his remarkable longevity to "cigarettes, whisky and wild, wild women."

 

Jokes aside, he was a modest man who served as Britain's conscience, reminding young people time and time again about the true cost of war.

 

"I want everyone to know," he told The Associated Press during an interview in November. "They died for us."

 

He was the last surviving original member of the Royal Air Force, which was formed in 1918. He made it a personal crusade to talk about a conflict that wiped out much of a generation. Though nearly blind, he would take the outstretched hands of visitors in both of his, gaze into the eyes of children, veterans and journalists and deliver a message he wanted them all to remember about those left on the battlefield.

 

"I don't want to see them forgotten," he would say quietly. "We were pals."

 

Only a handful of World War I veterans remain of the estimated 68 million mobilized. There are no French veterans left alive; just one left now in Britain; and the last living American-born veteran is Frank Woodruff Buckles of Charles Town, West Virginia. The man believed to have been Germany's last surviving soldier has also died.

 

"It's the end of a era_ a very special and unique generation," said Allingham's friend, Dennis Goodwin. "The British people owe them a great deal of gratitude."

 

Rest In Peace

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  • 2 weeks later...

I see we also lost Harry patch last week too. Harry was the last surviving "Tommy" from the First World War. He was 113 years old and a wonderful character.

 

I have watched a few programmes featuring him over the years; one of which was "the Last Tommy"

 

A wonderful man and a wonderful life story. He once said when asked how he would like to be remembered after he was gone "I don't want to be remembered..... the lads who died in the trenches are the ones to be remembered"

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"I want everyone to know," he told The Associated Press during an interview in November. "They died for us."

 

I hope Mr Allingham, that you can tell everyone of them how thankful we are. And Obs- Lions led by donkeys, yes- very true, let us hope that the donkeys never get put in charge again!

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I agree with nearly all the sentiments expressed except the one that they don't breed them like that any more - although I know where the writer is coming from.

I can speak first hand of experiences in Korea, albeit fifty odd years ago and I'm sure the bravery of the soldiers on patrol or special missions in Afghanistan woud match anything previously.

I suspect the "modern soft generation" would also rise to the occasion should the hour cometh, as those already enlisted are doing.

 

Happy days

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Each generation has its own ways but men fighting and dying - well thats still happening. Men choosing to sign up for the armed services - still happening. It is wrong to compare the past to the present, its different but the same. If you get my drift. :cry:

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I remember a scene from the film Zulu; where the young Private asks "why us?"; to which the Sergeant replies: "cos your here lad" - which kinda sums things up. :shock: In 1914 Kitchener called for a 100,000 "volunteers" and they flocked to the beat of the drum and the flag waving, even women were giving out white feathers to those not in uniform - nowadays most folk demand to "know the reason why" - which is argueably a good thing, but can mean that wars are lost politically at home rather than on the battlefields (EG Viet-Nam). :?

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