17 March 2009

Oldest WWI vet receives Légion d'honneur

ZUI this post from the MOD Defence News:
The oldest surviving veteran from the First World War has been given France's highest possible accolade by becoming an Officer of the French Legion of Honour.

At 112 years old, Henry Allingham is the last survivor of the Battle of Jutland, the last surviving member of the Royal Naval Air Service and the last surviving founding member of the Royal Air Force.

Mr Allingham received the military honour at a ceremony at the official London residence of the French Ambassador Maurice Gourdault-Montagne yesterday, Monday 16 March 2009, in recognition of his service during the First World War where he saw action on board [HMT] Kingfisher and served on the Western Front as well as in Dunkirk.


Veterans Minister Kevan Jones said:

"Henry Allingham has helped generations of schoolchildren remember the sacrifice thousands of British soldiers made in World War One and ensured that they understand the debt of gratitude we owe them. This is a wonderful tribute to Henry's bravery and commitment and we thank the French Government for this honour."

Mr Allingham has joined fellow World War One veteran Harry Patch in becoming an Officer of the French Legion of Honour. Mr Patch, aged 110, who received his award last week, is the last surviving UK soldier to have served in the trenches during the Great War. They are the two last remaining veterans of World War One living in the UK.

Wikipedia has articles on Mr Allingham, the Battle of Jutland, the RNAS and Mr Patch (whom I mentioned last week), but I can't find any information concerning HMT Kingfisher. ZUI also this article from the BBC regarding Mr Allingham's 112th birthday (6 Jun 2008), and this article from The Mail from his 111th.

Medal of an officer of the Légion d'honneur

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