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Last Updated: Friday, 25 November 2005, 17:19 GMT
Last salute to oldest war veteran
The service was held in Mr Anderson's home village
Hundreds of mourners have gathered to pay respects to Scotland's longest surviving World War One veteran.

Alfred Anderson died on Monday in a nursing home in Angus, aged 109.

Scotland's most senior Army officer and a representative of Prince Charles were among those who attended his funeral at the parish church in Alyth, Perthshire.

The Black Watch veteran's oak coffin received a guard of honour of two soldiers and a piper from the historic regiment, which is based in Perth.

Mr Anderson's extended family, including four children, 10 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren, filled the pews of the church.

'Extraordinary life'

The Reverend Neil Gardner, who led the Church of Scotland service, said: "We come to share with Alfred's immediate family in their sense of sorrow at his death, representing, as it does, the end of an era.

"We come just as powerfully to share with them a very real sense of thanksgiving for his extraordinary life and for all the memories he leaves behind and of all the ways in which his life touched ours and our age."

Mr Anderson was 18 when he went off to war and saw some of the bloodiest fighting of the campaign.

He was thought to have been the longest surviving veteran of the 1914 Christmas truce when British and German troops shook hands in no-man's-land.

Alfred Anderson and Prince Charles - Mod Crown Copyright/PA
Mr Anderson received a private visit from Prince Charles

Mr Anderson had served as batman to Captain Fergus Bowes-Lyon, the late Queen Mother's brother and two years ago Prince Charles paid him a visit.

The prince sent his relative David Bowes-Lyon, 58, who is the son of the Queen Mother's first cousin, to represent him at the funeral.

Scotland's top Army officer, Lieutenant-General Sir Alistair Irwin, read a lesson during the service.

The French Consul-General, Pierre-Antoine Berniare, whose predecessor awarded Mr Anderson the Legion d'Honneur in 1998, also came to pay his respects.

'Immense courage'

During the service Mr Anderson's friend and biographer, Professor John MacKenzie, paid a glowing tribute to his life.

He said: "To hear him exercising his wonderfully clear memory reminiscing about the return of Boer War troops over 100 years ago and, of course, his terrifying time in France in the First World War was truly inspirational.

"His dignity, his old-fashioned charm and courtesy, his modesty and, above all, his great humour were the attributes of a man who had demonstrated a coolness under fire and an immense courage that should leave us all in awe."

A bagpiper played the Black Watch's regimental slow march, The Garb of Old Gaul, as pallbearers carried the coffin into the hearse before the old soldier began his final journey to Perth Crematorium.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See the final farewell



SEE ALSO:
Prince in tribute to war veteran
21 Nov 05 |  Scotland
Oldest war veteran reaches 106
25 Jun 02 |  Scotland


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