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Last Updated: Monday, 30 October 2006, 21:34 GMT
Oldest war veterans make friends
Robert Meier (left) and Henry Allingham
The veterans both served in WWI
The oldest British World War I veteran and his German counterpart have been introduced for the first time.

Henry Allingham - the UK's oldest man at 110, and the last survivor of the Battle of Jutland - met Robert Meier, 109, in Witten, near Dortmund.

The men, who greeted each other warmly, laid a wreath at the WWI memorial near Witten's town hall.

Mr Meier said it was "amazing" that men were "both still alive". He went on: "Why did we have to have a war?"

Mr Meier, who is Germany's oldest man, fought at the Western Front in France in 1916.

He said: "It is so good to see people happy to see us here together.

"Why can't we all be friends?"

Similarly, Mr Allingham, who said he was "very happy" to meet his German counterpart, said: "No man who knows war wants war again. I want to forget it."

Recalling being among occupying troops who marched into Germany during WWI, Mr Allingham said the Germans "didn't want war any more than we did".

"The people themselves...had no ill feelings towards us. Neither did we to them. I didn't," he said.

A French delegation also took part in the ceremony, representing three French veterans who are also over 100 years old but had to stay at home due to sickness.


SEE ALSO
Britain's oldest man reaches 109
06 Jun 05 |  Southern Counties
Veteran gets freedom of home town
20 Mar 06 |  Southern Counties
German-Polish move to bury past
30 Oct 06 |  Europe
More war veterans needing support
26 Oct 06 |  Oxfordshire
War veterans' Poppy Day boycott
02 Oct 06 |  North East Wales

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