Page last updated at 16:30 GMT, Thursday, 30 April 2009 17:30 UK

Freeman honour for oldest veteran

Henry Allingham
Mr Allingham is the sole survivor of the Battle of Jutland

War veteran Henry Allingham - the UK's oldest man - has been made an honorary freeman of Brighton and Hove.

City councillors voted unanimously in favour of honouring the 112-year-old RAF veteran at a special meeting.

Mr Allingham was honoured for his service during both world wars and praised for relating his experiences to local school children.

He said he was honoured to receive the award from the mayor of Brighton and Hove, Garry Peltzer Dunn.

The ceremonial honour is given to those deemed to have served in an exceptional capacity and can be conferred by a special resolution of the council if two thirds of members vote in favour.

It read: "That the honour and title of honorary freeman of the city of Brighton and Hove be bestowed on Mr Henry Allingham in grateful recognition of his exceptional services during both world wars and his work to ensure future generations do not forget the debt owed to all those who gave their lives to ensure freedom for all."

Henry is very modest about his achievements
Dennis Goodwin, long-time friend

City council leader Mary Mears said they were fortunate he had made the city his home.

"We are also extremely grateful for the time and effort that he has taken in speaking with schoolchildren about his life and wartime experiences," she said earlier.

"The sacrifices made for their present, by people from our recent past must not be forgotten."

Mr Peltzer Dunn said he thought Mr Allingham should be given a knighthood.

He said: "I think it is unbelievable that he hasn't been honoured with a knighthood.

"I feel that there is no honour too good for him."

Mr Allingham, the last surviving founder member of the RAF and one of two surviving Worl War I veterans, moved to St Dunstan's care home for blind ex-service personnel in Ovingdean, near Brighton, after leaving his flat along the coast in Eastbourne in 2006.

Dennis Goodwin, Mr Allingham's long-time friend and founder of the First World War Veterans' Association, said: "Henry is very modest about his achievements.

'Achieved so much'

"A familiar phrase that he uses is, 'Why me?'.

"I tell him that he is famous and he has achieved so much at such a late time in his life, and that's what people love about him."

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.

He was last month made an honorary member of the Royal Naval Association and also received an upgraded Legion d'Honneur in London, six years after receiving his first one.

Last month, he became Britain's oldest ever man when he reached 112 years and 296 days, surpassing Welshman John Evans who died in 1990 aged 112 years and 295 days.

He will turn 113 on 6 June.



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Oldest veteran meets young marine
07 Apr 09 |  Sussex
Veteran is UK's oldest ever man
29 Mar 09 |  Sussex
Marine wins battle for bungalow
05 Mar 09 |  England

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific