Page last updated at 12:19 GMT, Sunday, 29 March 2009 13:19 UK

Veteran is UK's oldest ever man

Henry Allingham salutes as he listens to a speech at his medal ceremony
Henry Allingham received an upgraded Legion d'Honneur this month

The UK's oldest man has reached a new milestone by becoming the oldest ever British man, after clocking up 112 years and 296 days.

Henry Allingham has lived longer than Welshman John Evans, who died in 1990 aged 112 years and 295 days.

Mr Allingham is one of two surviving World War I veterans in the UK and is also the oldest Royal Navy veteran.

He is spending the day quietly at St Dunstan's care home for blind ex-service personnel near Brighton.

Mr Allingham, who has dedicated much of his time in recent years to giving talks to schoolchildren about his experiences, will be 113 years old on 6 June.

Dennis Goodwin, his close friend and founder of the First World War Veterans' Association, said: "He has achieved another milestone in his long life and is raising the bar of longevity.

"To be honest the last two years have been littered with milestones but this one is nice for him.

"The next one will come when he becomes a 'teenager' again when he reaches 113 in June."

Promoted to officer

On Monday Mr Allingham will be made an honorary member of the Royal Naval Association during a low-key presentation at St Dunstan's.

Earlier this month he received an upgraded Legion d'Honneur in London, six years after receiving his first one.

He has held the rank of chevalier, or knight, in the Legion d'Honneur since 2003 but was promoted to the rank of officer by French ambassador Maurice Gourdault-Montagne.

Mr Allingham, who now has his first great-great-great-grandchild, joined the Royal Navy Air Service in September 1915 before transferring to the RAF in April 1918.

As well as being the last founder member of the RAF, he is also the sole survivor of the Battle of Jutland.

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