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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 February, 2005, 20:03 GMT
New medals for oldest war veteran
Henry Allingham with his medals
Henry Allingham was given his medals at a special ceremony
Britain's oldest war veteran has been presented with medals to replace two he lost 60 years ago in the Blitz.

Henry Allingham, 108, of Eastbourne, was given a British War Medal and the Victory Medal at a ceremony in the East Sussex town on Wednesday.

He joined the Royal Naval Air Service in 1915 as an aircraft mechanic.

Steps were taken by the Ministry of Defence to replace his medals after it was discovered he had borrowed some for a World War I commemorative event.

'Historical significance

A member of the public had noticed the medals were pinned haphazardly to Mr Allingham's jacket at the event and contacted the Royal Navy Medal Office.

After he was tracked down by the Royal British Legion and the MoD medal office it was discovered he had borrowed the medals and so it was decided they should be replaced.

Henry Allingham in his Royal Naval Air Service uniform
During World War II he worked on magnetic mine counter measures

Hilary Williams, from the MoD medal office said: "It is always a pleasure to help veterans receive the medals they deserve and this case is of particular historical significance."

Mr Allingham served as an aircraft mechanic in anti-Zeppelin seaplane squadron and as an airborne spotter at the Battle of Jutland.

He also served as a mechanic for aircraft supporting the Ypres offensive.

During World War II he worked on magnetic mine counter measures.

The British War Medal commemorates service in His Majesty's Forces, 1914 to 1920, and the bringing of the war to a successful conclusion.

The Victory Medal, 1914 to 1920, commemorates the victory of the Allies over the Central Powers.

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