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July 31, 2009

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World's oldest man laid to rest

POLITICIANS, military chiefs, relatives and hundreds of strangers bade farewell yesterday to Henry Allingham, the world's oldest man and one of Britain's last survivors of World War I.

Allingham was the last founding member of the Royal Air Force and one of only a handful of WW I veterans left in the world when he passed away at 113 on July 18.

Hundreds of people gathered outside St Nicholas' Church in Brighton, southern England, and broke into applause as the coffin, draped in a red-white-and-blue Union flag and topped with red roses, was carried into the church by Royal Navy and Royal Air Force pallbearers.

The bell of the Anglican church tolled 113 times, Royal Marine buglers sounded the "Last Post" and replica WWI aircraft flew past.

His grandson David Gray of Michigan said he had been "overwhelmed by the outpouring of affection and the crowd."

The world's oldest man is now Walter Breuning, 112, of Great Falls, Montana.


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