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the pioneer of Dylan Studies; writer, public speaker, critic; became a Doctor of Letters in 2015 (awarded by the University of York, UK)

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Monday, July 20, 2009


Since I so often commemorate the passing of interesting artists on this blog, I should like to mark the passing of Henry Allingham, who died on Saturday morning. I don't feel able to recommend any particular obituary but if you have a moment I recommend you read about him somewhere. A remarkable man, who lived on more than 80 years after the end of the 1st World War - and for almost all of those, preferring to remain silent about the horrors that haunted his memory and gave him, as if he hadn't suffered enough, the additional ineradicable guilt so many survivors feel when they witnessed the daily slaughter of those all around them, day in and day out, in the most atrocious conditions and for so little point.

And yet Henry Allingham did survive, and did so, he suggested, by not worrying in later life. And by coincidence I heard a doctor of some kind say on the radio (BBC Radio 6 Music) only about ten days ago that people who live to be 80 or even 90 are of widely varying personality types, that those who live to be 100 are less dissimilar and that those few who live to be 110 are almost identical in fundamental personality - that is, they are not worriers: they cope well with stress.


Anonymous Yvonne said...

Hi Michael: Thanks for bringing this remarkable man to our attention.

Cheers, Yvonne

4:54 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Michael

I just wanted to say how much i enjoy your blog, I read it as often as I can. I have never written in before, but I was delighted to see you mention Henry Allingham.

I first became aware of him in a BBC documentary "The Last Tommy" I think it was called. It covered the period of trench warfare during WW1 and spoke to the remaining soldiers, one of whom was Henry. Very rarely does a documentary bring me to tears but this one did. Listening to these quietly spoken humble men speak about their experiences at that time was truly remarkable, and something I have never forgotten.

So great to see his name here, thank you.

12:32 pm  

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