On Friday, June 19, a British World War I veteran became the oldest living man in the world. The World War vet is Henry Allingham, and he celebrated his 113th birthday on the 6th of June. Prior to his gaining the record, the oldest man was Tomoji Tanabe, a resident of southern Japan. He was also 113 years old but died in sleep early on Friday.
It was then that the Guinness World Records declared that Allingham is now the oldest man on earth. Allingham is actually one of the two World War I veterans living in Britain today. Also, he has held the record of the oldest man in Britain for two years now, since 2007.
A little bit on Allingham’s life. He joined the Royal Naval Air Service, which was what they had before the Royal Air Force, in 1915. In 1916, he found himself in the middle of the Battle of Jutland. This is the largest naval battle in the First World War. He also took part in World War II, where he did his job countering magnetic mines.
Long after the wars were fought and won, Allingham met Dennis Goodwin, who got him involved in various activities furthering the cause of veterans. The two also wrote an autobiography, titled “Kitchener’s Last Volunteer.” The title was meant to refer to the war secretary of Britain who helped encourage people to the cause.
Let’s all make a toast – or two – to this amazing man and his life!
There are certain things that one associates with a nation. In our case, we have fish and chips. We have our flag. We also have British Airways. While the (former) national flag carrier might not be as popular as other symbolisms, I am pretty sure that BA has a place in the hearts of the British.
News has been going around that the airline is in trouble. The question that is hanging in the air right now is whether or not BA will really go under, for good. According to a feature by the Times Online, Willie Walsh, the chief executive of the airlines might very well say this one day:
“I am sorry to say that despite our efforts today we have been unable to secure further funding from our banks. The cash drain we sustained as a result of the rolling programme of industrial action by cabin crew and ground staff means we can no longer continue as a going concern. British Airways has this evening been put into administration.”
However, according to experts quoted by the Times Online, Walsh is exaggerating the situation. They say that he has an ulterior motive, which is to get the unions ready when the talks about cost cutting come up. Indeed, if everyone thinks that the airline is in dire financial straits, the unions will probably not have such a hard stance against the airline.
Then again, Walsh’s statements are strong – they might be strong to be crying wolf. Right now, we do not know the real situation, but what we do know is that there are people who want to save BA.