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Kitchener's Last Volunteer: The Life of Henry Allingham, the Oldest Surviving Veteran of the Great War [Kindle Edition]

Henry Allingham , Dennis Goodwin
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Henry Allingham is the last British serviceman alive to have volunteered for active duty in the First World War and is one of very few people who can directly recall the horror of that conflict. In Kitchener's Last Volunteer, he vividly recaptures how life was lived in the Edwardian era and how it was altered irrevocably by the slaughter of millions of men in the Great War, and by the subsequent coming of the modern age.

Henry is unique in that he saw action on land, sea and in the air with the British Naval Air Service. He was present at the Battle of Jutland in 1916 with the British Grand Fleet and went on to serve on the Western Front. He befriended several of the young pilots who would lose their lives, and he himself suffered the privations of the front line under fire.

In recent years, Henry was given the opportunity to tell his remarkable story to a wider audience through a BBC documentary, and he has since become a hero to many, meeting royalty and having many honours bestowed upon him.

This is the touching story of an ordinary man's extraordinary life - one who has outlived six monarchs and twenty-one prime ministers, and who represents a last link to a vital point in our nation's history.

Product Description


"Allingham, one of the last living links to a terrible time in our nation's history, fills you with admiration and awe" (Daily Mail)

"Allingham tells his story simply, fluently and modestly" (Daily Telegraph)

"[Allingham's] 'recollections are more striking for being so understated and unburnished" (The Times)

"Henry tells the story of his remarkable experiences with touching clarity and humour . . . a fascinating insight into how life has changed over the last 100 years" (News of the World)

About the Author

Henry Allingham was born on 6 June 1896 in Clapton. He makes regular public appearances to educate modern generations about the war and was recently bestowed a Pride of Britain award.

Dennis Goodwin MBE is the founder of The World War One Veterans Association and has helped over 200 veterans make pilgrimages back to the battlefields of France and Flanders.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 543 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Mainstream Digital (31 Jan. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004K6MEDG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #292,566 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Henry Allingham was born on 6 June 1896 in Clapton. He makes regular public appearances to educate modern generations about the war and was recently bestowed a Pride of Britain award.

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Customer Reviews

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4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
67 of 68 people found the following review helpful
By Pedros
I just love to read these accounts of the life of a true hero that has lived through numerous decades and gives us an insight into the daily lives during each era. This book also gives us a birds eye view of life in the great war. If ever there was a book that should be read by everyone then this is it.
I would also recommend Harry Patch's book,"the last fighting tommy", with equal status.
These two fine books should sit alongside each other on every bookshelf across the country to be read time and time again.
Thank you Henry for giving us this account and it is a true hero that still talks with such compassion for his lost but never forgotten colleagues. Brothers in arms has never had more meaning.
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52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A privilege to read, and a joy too 1 Oct. 2008
I've just finished reading this - a book I devoured almost without putting it down. That 112 year old can really write!

Henry Allingham is a fascinating character - the only man alive who saw the Grand Fleet steaming towards Jutland, and also the last of those who fought in the first air war in history. Mr. Allingham has a dry, self-deprecating style which is highly engaging. I was drawn into his autobiographical tale, almost as if he had been talking to me directly.

The narrative of this remarkable 112 year old is interspersed with short passages of historical scene-setting, filling in the background to Henry's story. Consequently they add rather than detract from the narrative.

The whole book is delightful - a personal narrative by an extremely personable old man. I've read several first-hand accounts by Great War veterans before, but this is in a league all of its own, both for the scope of Henry's story, and for the engaging way he tells it.

I can't recommend this book too highly.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book 7 Feb. 2009
I bought this book for Christmas for my Father who is 81 and has a great interest in WW1. He remembers his father who joined up the day after war broke out telling him stories of what happened to him and, also the fact that his Father suffered from nightmares about what happened right up until the day he died aged 89. My Father has told me that in his opinion this is the best book he has ever read relating to WW1 and he would highly recommend it. A very human story that brings history to life.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never too late 11 Nov. 2008
By Archy
What amazes me the most about Henry Allingham's fascinating and inspiring life story is that for 30 years he lived a quiet life in his Eastbourne flat, and hadn't spoken about the War since it ended. Then, after reaching 100, his life changed completely and he's now had up to 47 event appearances in a single year. This shows astonishing flexibility and ability to change. It is a truly inspiring book. Aside from the personal aspects given to many historical events it is an account of the triumph of the human spirit. Henry is a star!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
What was it about that generation that fought in The Great War? Henry Allingham was not the stereotypical Englishman from that period but one can imagine that his character with its charm, appreciation of value and work ethic was more commonplace than in the 'benefit' culture attitudes of contemporary Britain. Henry Allingham's life is the benchmark example to us all. The book provided an excellent description of life in a bygone age and was almost unputdownable.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truely moving read 20 July 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I finished reading this marvellous book a week before Mr Allingham passed away. This man gave to much to so many, he will not be forgotton by all the school children is spoke to, nor by all those adults who were fortunate enough to meet him. Heshould be an inspiration for us all.

His passing really in the end of an era but we must never forget what his generation did for us.

May you rest in peace Mr Allingham.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, Dennis Goodwin has made a fine job of telling the story of Henry Allingham - particularly impressive given that he is not a career journalist. I've also read the story of Harry Patch, which I preferred but only for the reason that Harry himself came across as an extremely interesting man and a complex character whose views made for fascinating reading.

Henry Allingham was a quiet, kind, decent man who had a very interesting wartime experience, not devoid of horror by any means, but quieter than that experienced by some. Post-war he led a relatively uneventful, comfortable middle-class life, becoming remarkable for his fitness as a centenarian - he still rode a mountain bike at 100. What made this book very enjoyable was the detailed asides of historical details that padded it out and informed - the progress of the early motor industry, the fate of Kitchener, the stories behind other centenarian veterans. Dennis Goodwin founded the First World War Veteran's Association and takes the opportunity within these pages to tell some of the stories of other centenarian veterans who were lesser known - John Oborne, Smiler Marshall and Alfred Anderson for example.

Books such as this and Harry Patch's "Last Tommy" deserve to become part of the National Curriculum. These men may have passed from us but their stories still deserve to be heard.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars window on the past 15 Sept. 2009
I read with delight the personal story of Henry Alliingham, the last veteran of the 1st World War. He was an ordinary 'bloke' with a mundane life after war, who only discovered his invaluable link to the past after his 100th Birthday.His story is not unique but what is , is the links to the events of the day.We learn of his lfe and alongside it , putting it into perspective, are the actual historical events of that time.For example, the effect of the Salvation Army in the East End. Who and what the Army did and why? I found it illuminating and most enjoyable.
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