Genealogy Blog

1 September 2009

One Half Of Britain's Longest Married Couple Has Died

One half of Britain's longest married couple has died at the Plymouth residential home where he lived with his wife of 81 years.

Frank Milford met Anita, both 101, at a YMCA dance in Plymouth, Devon, in 1926 and they married two years later.

The couple said the secret of their marriage was "give and take" and making up after rows with a kiss and cuddle.

Mr Milford's 76-year-old son, who is also called Frank, said his mother was holding his father's hand when he died.

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7 August 2009

Thousands Mourn Britain’s Oldest Warrior

Harry Patch was past his 100th birthday before he began speaking out about the horrors he endured as a machine gunner in Flanders in World War I, when he survived the fighting at Ypres that was among the bloodiest in a war that took the lives of nearly 900,000 men from Britain and its colonies.

When Mr. Patch finally broke 80 years of silence, in the final decade of a life that was honored by thousands of mourners who gathered at his funeral on Thursday in this quiet cathedral town set in rolling green hills 140 miles west of London, his message was not the traditional story of valor and patriotism under fire. Rather, he took as his central themes the futility of war and the common humanity of soldiers who meet as enemies on the battlefield.

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1 August 2009

The Day The Oldest Man Was Born

British World War I veteran Henry Allingham, until recently the world's oldest man, was buried on Thursday. The headlines about the day he was born, 113 years ago, give a fascinating insight into life in the late 19th Century.

On the day Henry Allingham's death was announced, swine flu, Moon landings and Michael Jackson were among the topics that ranked highly among readers of the BBC News website. They are subjects which could hardly have been imagined 113 years earlier, when Henry William Allingham emerged into the world.

Mr Allingham had lived through momentous events that many of us associate more with history books than breaking news stories - the death of Queen Victoria, the sinking of the Titantic, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which triggered World War I.

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30 July 2009

Henry Allingham, World's Oldest Man, Laid To Rest

Henry Allingham understood the cost of war in his heart, his guts and his bones — and made it his mission to share that knowledge. It seems he succeeded.

Politicians, military chiefs, a large extended family and hundreds of respectful strangers bade farewell Thursday to Allingham, the world's oldest man and one of Britain's last survivors of World War I.

Allingham, who died July 18 at 113, was a modest man who earned a place in history, and spent his final years reminding younger generations of the futility of war.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the medieval church and broke into applause as Allingham's 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.

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26 July 2009

Last UK Veteran Of WWI Trench Battles Dies At 111

Harry Patch, Britain's last survivor of the trenches of World War I, was a reluctant soldier who became a powerful eyewitness to the horror of war, and a symbol of a lost generation.

Patch, who died Saturday at 111, was wounded in 1917 in the Battle of Passchendaele, which he remembered as "mud, mud and more mud mixed together with blood."

"Anyone who tells you that in the trenches they weren't scared, he's a damned liar: you were scared all the time," Patch was quoted as saying in a book, "The Last Fighting Tommy," written with historian Richard van Emden.

The Fletcher House care home in Wells, southwest England, said Patch "quietly slipped away" on Saturday morning.

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18 July 2009

Henry Allingham, World's Oldest Man, British WWI Veteran, Dies At 113

The world's oldest man, 113-year-old World War I veteran Henry Allingham, died Saturday after spending his final years reminding Britain about the 9 million soldiers killed during the conflict.

Allingham was the last surviving original member of the Royal Air Force, which was formed in 1918. He made it a personal crusade to talk about a conflict that wiped out much of a generation. Though nearly blind, he would take the outstretched hands of visitors in both of his, gaze into the eyes of children, veterans and journalists and deliver a message he wanted them all to remember.

"I want everyone to know," he told The Associated Press during an interview in November. "They died for us."

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9 July 2009

Australia's Last WWII Victoria Cross Winner Dies

Australia's last surviving World War II recipient of the Victoria Cross, who was awarded the elite medal for storming a Japanese machine gun post, has died aged 90, officials said.

Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard said Edward Kenna's death late Wednesday at a nursing home in Geelong, southwest of Melbourne, was a sad day for Australia.

Gillard said Kenna displayed extraordinary bravery when he single-handedly stormed a Japanese machine-gun nest at Wewak in New Guinea in 1945, firing a Bren gun from his hip with enemy bullets passing under his arms as he advanced.

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19 June 2009

British World War I Veteran Henry Allingham Becomes the World's Oldest Man

Great War veteran Henry Allingham became the world's oldest man today following the death of the previous holder of the title in Japan, Guinness World Records said. Mr Allingham, one of only two surviving First World War veterans in the UK and the last surviving founder member of the RAF, celebrated his 113th birthday on June 6.

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World's Oldest Man Dies at 113 in Japan

The world's oldest man, Tomoji Tanabe, died at his home in southern Japan on Friday at the age of 113, according to a local official.

Tanabe, who suffered from a chronic heart problem, passed away with his relatives at his bedside, said an official at Miyakonojo City, where he lived.

"Mr Tanabe was a symbol of Miyakonojo... and cheered up many residents," making the town a byword for longevity, said Mayor Makoto Nagamine.

The world's oldest known person is 115-year-old Gertrude Baines who lives in Los Angeles.

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3 June 2009

Australia's Oldest Man, Last WWI Veteran Dies

Australia's oldest man and its last surviving veteran of World War I died on Wednesday at the age of 110.

Jack Ross, who joined the Australian Imperial Force in the last months of World War I 91 years ago, died in his sleep in a nursing home in the southern country town of Bendigo, the Golden Oaks Nursing Home said.

Ross, who was born in 1899, enlisted in the Australian military that fought with British forces in January 1918 and was trained in the use of radio before being assigned to the 1st Battalion in his native Victoria state.

But the Great War drew to an end in November of the same year and Ross was demobilised before being posted overseas.

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2 June 2009

Last Titanic Survivor Dies At 97

The last survivor of the sinking of the Titanic has died aged 97.

Millvina Dean was nine weeks old when the liner sank after hitting an iceberg in the early hours of 15 April 1912, on its maiden voyage from Southampton.

The disaster resulted in the deaths of 1,517 people in the north Atlantic, largely due to a lack of lifeboats.

Miss Dean, who remembered nothing of the fateful journey, died on Sunday at the care home in Hampshire where she lived.

Her family had been travelling in third class to America, where they hoped to start a new life and open a tobacconist's shop in Kansas City.

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29 April 2009

Great Escape' Gardener, 97, Dies

One of the last surviving prisoners of war (PoW) from Stalag Luft III, the focus of the 1963 film The Great Escape, has died in Scotland.

Alex Lees, 97, and born in Manchester, had been the gardener in the famous PoW camp in Germany during World War II.

Mr Lees used his work to help get rid of the spoil dug from the escape tunnels at the camp.

Of those who broke out of the camp only three reached safety and of the 73 recaptured, 50 were shot.

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11 April 2009

Illinois Man Awarded Medal of Honor Dies at 89

Russell Dunham, an Illinois man who was awarded the Medal of Honor after killing nine German soldiers and taking two others captive while wounded during World War II, has died. He was 89.

Dunham died Monday of heart failure at his home in the southwestern Illinois community of Godfrey, said his stepdaughter, Annette Wilson. He had moved there just weeks ago from nearby Jerseyville.

Dunham never considered himself a hero on Jan. 8, 1945, when he charged a hill near Kayserberg, France, despite being wounded in the back, Wilson said Thursday.

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29 March 2009

Veteran is UK's Oldest Ever Man

The UK's oldest man has reached a new milestone by becoming the oldest ever British man, after clocking up 112 years and 296 days.

Henry Allingham has lived longer than Welshman John Evans, who died in 1990 aged 112 years and 295 days.

Mr Allingham is one of two surviving World War I veterans in the UK and is also the oldest Royal Navy veteran.

Mr Allingham, who has dedicated much of his time in recent years to giving talks to schoolchildren about his experiences, will be 113 years old on 6 June.

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26 March 2009

U.S. Historian John Hope Franklin Dies at 94

U.S. historian and civil rights advocate John Hope Franklin, credited with helping create the field of African-American history, died on Wednesday at age 94, Duke University said.

Franklin's book "From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African-Americans," published in 1947, is still considered the definitive account of the black experience in America. The longtime Duke professor died of congestive heart failure at Duke Hospital in Durham, North Carolina.

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