Henry Allingham in Royal Naval Air Service uniform during World War I, 1916
Allingham’s London life time makes us twitch with historic envy: he watched W.G. Grace play cricket at Lords and remembered the 1908 Olympic Games coming to town, even noting that they had improved his P.E. lessons (dare we hope for such legacy this time around?) He even touched the criminal underbelly of the city, being visited by police investigating the robbery of a jewellery shop in Houndsditch by the notorious Sidney Street Anarchists.
We remember his visit to London in November for Remembrance Day celebrations and his selfless determination to do justice to his fallen comrades was an example to us all. In 2006, plans were laid down for the final First World War Veteran, which is now Somerset’s Harry Patch, to be given a National Memorial Service at Westminster Abbey. Allingham remarked of his plan “I don’t mind — as long as it’s not me”, and it is perhaps fitting that he got his wish.
By Tom Jones
Read the BBC Obituary for more.