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Henry Allingham

Although he lived to the extraordinary age of 113 years and 42 days, Henry Allingham is not our hero for that feat alone: it was what he had done in his life and the way he lived it that made him a hero. He was a founder member of the RAF and veteran of the Battle of Jutland. But rather than glory in that most terrible of wars he always emphasized the horror of it. Allingham was bright and alert in his extreme old age, and put his longevity down in part to his sense of humour. Add to that his belief that cigarettes, whisky and wild wild women had helped him become the world’s oldest man, and he was doubly a hero for living his life, not surviving it.

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All great and beautiful work has come of first gazing without shrinking into the darkness - John Ruskin
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On this day:
The Bank of England becomes Insolvent - 1797, First £1 Note Issued - 1797, First Grand National - 1839, Heroic HMS Birkenhead Sinks - 1852, Churchill Announces British Atom Bomb - 1952, Shelton Hospital Fire - 1968, Barings Bank Collapses - 1995
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