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Last Updated: Friday, 11 November 2005, 15:51 GMT
Oldest veteran salutes WWI fallen
Henry Allingham laying a wreath
The motto on the memorial means Through Struggle to the Stars
Britain's oldest war veteran said he would "like to join up again" after attending memorial services in France on Armistice Day.

Henry Allingham, 109, from Eastbourne in East Sussex, was a WWI aircraft engineer and is the last survivor from the Royal Air Force's creation in 1918.

He laid wreaths at memorials in St Omer, near Calais, in honour of his fallen comrades.

Mr Allingham served in the British airbase there during 1917.

St Omer is the location of the first permanent memorial to the 4,700 British air personnel who died while fighting on the Western Front.

Mr Allingham received a standing ovation when he officially unveiled it in 2004.

On Friday he used a stick to walk up to the memorial and lay a wreath.

Henry Allingham lighting a candle
Candles were lit at the Church of the Immaculate Conception

He then stood to attention before returning to his wheelchair to hear The Last Post being played.

The last survivor of the Battle of Jutland said: "By coming here, you recall things you want to forget.

"But I do the best I can and I come here to pay homage to these brave men.

"We owe so much to these men who gave all they could have given on my behalf and everyone's behalf. It is so important that we acknowledge them."

Mr Allingham was accompanied by 12 trainee aircraft engineers from RAF Cosford, near Wolverhampton.

He wished them success in their careers, adding: "I'd like to join up again. I'd give it another go if I could."

Mr Allingham will also attend the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph in London.


SEE ALSO:
Guard of honour for WWI veterans
09 Nov 05 |  England
WWI veteran receives new honour
06 Oct 05 |  Southern Counties
Britain's oldest man reaches 109
06 Jun 05 |  Southern Counties


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