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South Coast daily steps up bid to honour Henry

A regional daily is spearheading a campaign for a posthumous honour for world war one veteran Henry Allingham, who died last weekend at the age of 113.

Despite surviving the conflict to become the world’s oldest man, Mr Allingham never received a UK honour during his lifetime.

Now The Argus, Brighton, is calling on the government to give the former airman the recognition he deserves.

The paper has relaunched its ‘Honour for Henry’ campaign and is once again urging its readers to sign a petition in support of the move.

Mr Allingham died on Saturday at St Dunstan’s care home in Ovingdean, Brighton. The news was on The Argus website by 9.31am that day.

He was awarded France’s highest decoration, the rank of chevalier in the Legion d’Honneur in 2003, but was offered no equivalent by the UK government.

Argus editor Michael Beard told HTFP: “The fact that Henry Allingham was never honoured by the government is nothing short of a disgrace.

“It is for that reason that we relaunched our ‘Honour for Henry’ campaign. We must, along with MPs and campaigners, keep pressurising the government to give Mr Allingham the recognition he deserves.”

Earlier this year, The Argus wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Gordon Brown calling for an honour for Mr Allingham, but did not receive a reply.

In an editorial published after his death, the paper said: “Today we call on Mr Brown to finally act and to give Mr Allingham a posthumous honour. Although many will consider it bitter sweet, it will only be what Henry deserves.”

A spokeswoman for Mr Brown said at the weekend that ministers had been “considering” an appropriate recognition for Mr Allingham but had not come up with anything before his death.

  • The Argus’s special section on Henry Allingham can be viewed here.


    Realist (23/07/2009 10:50:59)
    Not a cynical attempt to flog a few more papers then?
    I suspect Henry was modest enough to have said “no thanks” but it’s too late of course to ask him.
    Rest in peace.

    Stan in Stroud (23/07/2009 17:29:14)
    I met Henry several times; a gentleman with an impish sense of humour. RIP.
    However, Brighton Argus he wasn’t a “soldier”. He served in the Royal Naval Air Service and was a founder member of the Royal Air Force on April 1, 1918.
    So he was a naval airman and then an airman; never a soldier!

    Stan (24/07/2009 11:57:18)
    Well corrected and good luck with the campaign!