London: Henry Allingham, who lives in Eastbourne, Sussex, the oldest man in Britain celebrated his 109th birthday today.
Henry who recalls the death of Queen Victoria has been retired for 40 years. He is one of only 12 veterans from the First World War who is still alive. Henry took part in three of the major battles including Flanders, the Somme and the naval battle of Jutland.
He joined up in 1915 as a mechanic in the Royal Naval Air Service, but was flying in time for the battle of Jutland. Then in 1918 it merged with the Armycontrolled Royal Flying Corps and he saw action at Flanders and the Somme.
His secret of a long life: “”If you want to know the secret of a long and happy life, I’d have to say that the love of a good woman is a big part of it, ” he said.
He has lived alone since his wife, Dorothy, a nurse, died in 1970. The couple had two daughters who both died in their 80s. Henry has five grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and several great-great grandchildren.