Tribute to WWI's oldest veteran Henry Allingham to arrive at Fleet Air Arm Museum

By Culture24 Reporter | 14 November 2013

A bust of Britain's oldest First World War veteran, the late Henry Allingham, is to be unveiled by Sculptor Jenna Gearing for the First World War centenary at the Fleet Air Arm Museum

a photo of a young woman next to a sculpture of an old man
Sculptor Jenna Gearing with bust of Henry Allingham© Courtesy Fleet Air Arm Museum
The Fleet Air Arm Museum is to honour Britain’s longest living First World veteran as part of its commemoration of the centenary of the First World War.

A bust of Henry Allingham, who served in the precursor to the Fleet Air Arm, The Royal Naval Air Service and who witnessed the Battle of Jutland in 1916, will be unveiled at a ceremony at the Museum on November 26.

Made by talented young sculptor Jenna Gearing, of St Leonards Mayfield School in East Sussex, the bust of the aged veteran will become part of a permanent display alongside his medals and his silver World War I identity bracelet bearing the inscription “Henry W Allingham. Royal Naval Air Service. CoE.”

The bust captures Allingham as an old man, and was inspired by photographs taken during his visit to the museum in 2006 when he was interviewed by staff. 

Having previously been displayed at the Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne - Allingham’s home town for many years - it will now become the focal point for many of the Fleet Air Arm Museum’s exhibitions during the First World War centenary.

Museum Director Graham Mottram said the Museum was “delighted and honoured” to be able to display the work, which he described as “important and masterful” and a “poignant reminder of the lost generation”.

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a photo of Henry allingham with a man in naval uniform at the Fleet Air Arm Museum
Vice Admiral Sir Adrian Johns pictured with Henry Allingham at the Fleet Air Arm Museum in 2006.© Courtesy Fleet Air Arm Museum

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