World's oldest man, Henry Allingham, dies at 113

Sat Jul 18, 2009 12:02pm EDT
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By Luke Baker

LONDON (Reuters) - Henry Allingham, the world's oldest man and one of the last survivors of World War One, has died at the age of 113, his care home said on Saturday.

Allingham, who once jokingly credited his long life to "cigarettes, whisky and wild, wild women," died in his sleep at the St. Dunstan's care home near Brighton, on the south coast of England.

"He died very peacefully and very comfortably in his sleep," a spokeswoman for the home said. "It was a sad day. We are all very saddened .... There was nothing specific, he was just 113."

Allingham, who became the world's oldest man in June, following the death of Tomoji Tanabe of Japan, had five grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, 14 great-great grandchildren and one great-great-great grandchild.

He was born in 1896, the same year Henry Ford created the Ford Quadricycle, the forerunner of the modern day car. Queen Victoria was still on the throne when he was a small boy.

In all, his life spanned three centuries and five British monarchs. He lived for 113 years and 42 days.

During World War One he served with the Royal Naval Air Service, fighting at the Battle of Jutland, the largest sea battle of the war.

He later transferred to the Royal Air Force when it was created at the end of the war in 1918. He was the last surviving founder member of the force.   Continued...

<p>Britain's oldest man, Henry Allingham, smiles during his 113th birthday party at HMS President, in London June 6, 2009. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor</p>