Whilst the nation commemorates the centenary of, arguably, the most important naval action of the First World War, the Battle of Jutland, pupils at Gad’s Hill will remember fondly a visit to the school, back in 2008, by the last survivor of that battle, Henry Allingham

Not only was Henry the last survivor from Jutland, he was the last surviving original member of the Royal Naval Air Service, the forerunner of the RAF. As a child he had witnessed the coronation procession for Edward VII and would recall having watched the cricketing legend W.G. Grace play at the Oval.

Aged 111 when he came to Gad’s, Henry kept pupils enthralled as he recounted life in the air, at sea and in the trenches during the Great War. He told them: “I have always wanted to learn. If there was something I didn’t understand I went out and found out how to understand it.” The highlight of the day for a number of our cadets was receiving their promotion certificates from a man who truly was a link with such an important part of our past.


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