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World's oldest man dies at 113 in Britain

world Updated: Jul 19, 2009 01:17 IST

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World's oldest man and one of the last surviving World War I veteran, Henry Allingham, died today at the age of 113.

He died this morning at the St Dunstan's care home, in Ovingdean near Brighton, where he spent his last years.

Born in 1896 to an ironmonger in north-east London, Allingham was the last surviving original member of the Royal Air Force, which was formed in 1918, The Guardian reported.

A mechanic in the Royal Naval Air Service, he also took part in the naval Battle of Jutland in 1916.

Allingham was 14 when the war broke out. He spent the war's first months refitting trucks for military use as his mother asked him not to join the military. But a year after his mother's death he decided to sign up.

Allingham, whose life life spanned three centuries and six monarchs, spent his final years reminding Britain about the 9 million soldiers killed during the conflict.

He had become the world's oldest man on June 17 when the previous holder, Tomoji Tanabe of Japan, died aged 113.

Allingham had marked his 113th birthday on June 6.

He had two explanations for his longevity. The first was "cigarettes, whisky and wild women".

According to him, the second was, "How have I lived so long? I never worried. In the 20s there were millions of men out of work. You couldn't get a job anywhere. I wasn't worried. I'm not worried now."

The world's oldest man is now a 112-year-old American, Walter Breuning, who was born on September 21, 1896.