Henry Allingham understood the cost of war in his heart, his guts and his bones — and made it his mission to share that knowledge. It seems he succeeded.

Politicians, military chiefs, a large extended family and hundreds of respectful strangers bade farewell Thursday to Allingham, the world's oldest man and one of Britain's last survivors of World War I.

Allingham, who died July 18 at 113, was a modest man who earned a place in history, and spent his final years reminding younger generations of the futility of war.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the medieval church and broke into applause as Allingham's coffin, draped in a red-white-and-blue Union flag and topped with red roses, was carried into the church by Royal Navy and Royal Air Force pallbearers.

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