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Last Updated: Friday, 13 May, 2005, 05:49 GMT 06:49 UK
'Oldest man' Alfred dies at 108
Alfred Finnigan
Alfred Finnigan needed a cataract operation at age 106
A World War I veteran, who is believed to have been the oldest man in Wales, has died at the age of 108.

Alfred Finnigan, who lived in Carmarthenshire, died in hospital on Wednesday after a short illness.

Mr Finnigan, of Llanglydwen, served with the Royal Horse Artillery and was awarded the legion of honour from the French government for his war service.

In 2002, he was told he would have to wait six months for cataract surgery, but his NHS appointment was speeded up.

When his plight became known thanks to the BBC, public and media pressure meant Carmarthenshire NHS Trust brought the procedure forward.

He was very anti war - he used to say 'it was a ridiculous war and a lot of my friends died'
Niece Kathy Page

The operation was in time for the centenarian, who was the lead driver in a six-horse gun team during the 1914-18 war, to read the telegram from the Queen marking his 107th birthday.

Mr Finnigan was born in Deptford in London but had lived in Wales with his niece Kathy Page and her husband Colin for nine years.

'Anti-war'

Ms Page said: "I was very fond of him. He was a Victorian gentleman.

"He was cantankerous at times but he was always very polite to me. He was quite happy with me because I did what he expected me, a woman, to do, to feed him.

"He loved nature, he loved flowers. I took his suits to the undertakers and there was pile of biscuits in his pockets which he used to give to the dogs."

She said her uncle thought World War I was a "stupid" conflict and he only talked about it when asked.

"He was very anti-war. He used to say 'it was a ridiculous war and a lot of my friends died'.

Cremation

"He only spoke about it when he was asked by interviewers. He hated the fact that horses got injured too."

Ms Page said her uncle had wanted to die recently: "He wasn't miserable or gloomy but he'd had enough."

Social security in Wales has no record of anyone older than Mr Finnegan in the country. His funeral service is held at Narberth crematorium on Wednesday, 18 May.




SEE ALSO:
Alfred, 107, reads again
18 Sep 03 |  South West Wales


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