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WORLD’S OLDEST MAN LAID TO REST DESPITE FEEBLE PROTESTS
July 31 2009
Brighton, U.K. – One of the defining characteristics of humanity is our awareness of our own mortality. The inevitably of our own demise has helped to define the way our species has evolved and driven us to find new ways of extending the time we have on
the planet. Tales of men like Methuselah have inspired science and philosophy for years and spurred the notion that we may one day be able to live extended lives well beyond what we once saw as the limits of our species.
People like Henry Allingham of Brighton, England also inspire those dreams. With an average life expectancy in the United Kingdom of 80 years his 113 years are the kind of thing that inspires science and ordinary people with the hope of living forever. Though Allingham is not the oldest person to ever verifiably live he has put
himself into the upper pantheon of longevity. Now though that run has come to an end and a remarkable life that allowed him to see the entire 20th century as Allingham was put to rest on Thursday despite feeble and pained efforts that seemed to indicate that the supercentenarian wanted to continue on.
“It really was a remarkable life. He was one of the last living people to have fought in the First World War. He recalled soldiers returning from the Boer War. He survived the Second World War as well and saw everything from the rise of the automobile to manned flight to television to space travel to the internet. The last century was one of the most remarkable in history and he saw it all,” said Brighton Councillor Mary Mears. “Even at the end he was doing his best to survive just as he did through the last century. When they came into to take him away he tried to push the drivers away but could barely manage any strength. He tried to tell them that he wanted to live and go on. Really it’s quite remarkable. The technicians even said they heard something from the casket after they closed it, though that might just have been imagination.”
It’s not clear what prompted Brighton authorities to put down Allingham. Officially the United Kingdom does not allow for euthanasia and in no country is it allowed for people who do not want to be put down no matter their health status. It’s not yet clear who authorized the termination.
“Even in the very elderly it is commonly accepted that a person is not simply put to sleep like a dog or a cat would be so that makes this situation very unique. One also has to question the motivation as he was a significant source of pride for the community and the country as a whole so getting rid of him does seem a little funny,” said Scrape TV British analyst Nigel Northington. “One has to wonder if there was something more sinister going on. True the elderly can be a burden to the living both financially and emotionally but because of his status as a veteran one would think others would step up and help if it was needed. That makes this all the more suspicious and sad.”
Rumours have suggested that fellow WWI veterans Bill Stone and Harry Patch may have been involved in some way in the rapid dispatch of Allingham. Those two are now the last remaining British survivors of the conflict.
“From my understanding Patch in particular has a lot of pull in political circles and that could be a factor. It’s not clear what advantage either man would have by offing a fellow veteran but sometimes the human condition can be a tricky minefield. Yes we desire longevity but we are also beset by petty jealousies and strange obsessions,” continued Northington. “One person with something to gain would be Walter Breuning who is now the oldest man in the world. That would be more than enough motivation though it’s unclear what kind of clout he has in the U.K. If it turns out to be neither of those things and the city just decided to do a clean-up then we have a totally different situation on our hands, something that could be very treacherous.”
Reportedly black vehicles have been driving past the Radcliffe Gardens nursing home in Leeds, home to the oldest living woman in the U.K. Florrie Baldwin.