Henry Allingham, oldest surviving RAF member, dies at 113

Posted by David on July 18, 2009 10:04 AM

Henry Allingham sitting under the wings of a Supermarine Seagull V aeroplane at the RAF Museum on March 18, 2008 in London.Henry Allingham sitting under the wings of a Supermarine Seagull V aeroplane at the RAF Museum on March 18, 2008 in London. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images Europe)
Sad news today, as the oldest surviving member of the RAF, Henry Allingham, has died on July 18, 2009 at the age of 113.  Since mid-June he was the oldest man in the world, and by extension he was the oldest living survivor of World War I.  He was also the last surviving member of the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) and the last surviving member of the Battle of Jutland.

"He joined the Royal Navy Air Service in September 1915 and served in Ypres before transferring to the RAF in April 1918." (BBC)

It's also claimed that Allingham was the first to instrument a reconnaissance aircraft camera.

Allingham had been very active recently, making appearances and giving talks.  In November 2008 he took part in ceremonies that marked the 90th anniversary of World War I.

Last month he celebrated his 113th birthday in style on board the HMS President.
Robert Leader, chief executive of St Dunstan's care home in Ovingdean, near Brighton, said: "He was very active right up to his final days, having recently celebrated his 113th birthday on HMS President, surrounded by family.

"As well as possessing a great spirit of fun, he represented the last of a generation who gave a very great deal for us.

"Henry made many friends among the residents and staff at St Dunstan's. He was a great character and will be missed."

Mr Allingham is survived by Harry Patch, who turned 111 last month and is now the last British survivor of WWI.

(BBC News)
Henry Allingham in Royal Naval Air Service uniform in 1916Henry Allingham in Royal Naval Air Service uniform in 1916 (Wikipedia)
Many WWI veterans have been passing on lately, but I feel Allingham deserves special attention here for his contribution to the RAF.  Allingham was an Air Mechanic, a job that was essential for the operation of WWI aircraft and vital to the WWI pilot.

As has already been said, he was also quite active recently in making appearances to preserve the memory of the war.

For his service during the war and his continued service to preserve the memory of the war, we salute him!

(via BBC News)