July 20, 2009

England cricket

The last man to see Grace bat

Martin Williamson
Henry Allingham, Britain’s oldest man and the last survivor of the Battle of Jutland, on his second visit to The Oval - 103 years after his first, May 8, 2006
 © The Wisden Cricketer
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The widely-reported death of Henry Allingham – who at 113 was the world’s oldest man – sees the passing of the last man alive to have actually seen WG Grace bat. In 1903, aged seven, he went to The Oval to see Surrey play London County. "I saw WG Grace bat, you could always tell who he was by his long beard,” Allingham recalled in 2006 on his next visit to the ground, 103 years after he had last been there. “He scored quite a lot that day but I can't remember how many.”

There was a minute’s silence before the start of play on the third day of the Lord’s Test for Allingham, who was one of the last surviving World War One servicemen.

Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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