Europe's oldest man began his 111th birthday celebrations early yesterday with a trip down memory lane.

First World War veteran Henry Allingham, from Eastbourne, visited the Yesterday's World museum in Battle. The museum reopened in March following a £3 million refurbishment. Part of the money was spent on developing its Victorian, Edwardian, and war-time Britain exhibitions.

Mr Allingham said: "It's a really good museum. I'm so surprised to see so many things collected here.

It certainly wasn't here when I came to Battle 40 years ago. I've had a lovely day. I never imagined I'd see all these things again. What a surprise."

Museum manager Clive Pardey said: "We are delighted to have had the opportunity to meet Henry."

Mr Allingham will celebrate his birthday on June 6 aboard the HMS Victory in Portsmouth.

He puts his longevity down to cigarettes, whisky, wild women and a sense of humour.