The Last Post for Henry Allingham

Henry Allingham 1896 – 2009

Nearly 30 years ago I had the privilege of being asked to play guitar in the house band for a drama documentary describing the life of local World War One veteran Hawtin Munday.

It was called ‘Days of Pride’ and there’s a rather good site here all about the local area and Hawtin’s war experiences which inspired the original performances. The words of Hawtin himself are well worth listening to.

It was an amazing experience – days and days of rehearsals then 6 performances over one week and you got to work with some really great people, some of whom became good friends and remain so to this day.

The last performance was honoured with Hawtin’s presence and it was an extremely emotional experience when he spoke at the end of the show.

Now, alas, Hawtin is no longer with us, and likewise Henry Allingham – Britain’s oldest man and also one of only three living British WW1 veterans.

Inevitably, the day will soon come when there will be nobody left who can remember the courage and horror of what was intended to be ‘the war to end all wars’.

The emptiness and error of that description is demonstrated all too clearly by the fact that today many of our servicemen are coming home from the fighting in Afghanistan in body bags.

I’m not going to concern myself with the pros and cons of staying in Afghanistan – just that Henry, Hawtin and the soldiers who have died this past week and the many thousands of others before them, deserve our respect, honour and thanks and leave us with a duty to learn from them anything that can make this world a better place in which to live.

We must never forget them.


5 Responses

  1. Nothing to add to that, except agreement.

  2. Interesting and brilliant article – good work Steve.

  3. Amen.

    That is all.

  4. Nicely put Steve.

  5. Wholeheartedly agree. To learn more about the soldier’s eye view of the Great War visit Soldier’s Mail which features the writings home of U.S. Sgt Sam Avery while at the front, posted on the same date they were written over 90 years ago.

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