Britain's oldest Royal Navy veteran yesterday celebrated his 111th birthday on board the service's oldest warship.

A military fly-past marked the celebrations for Henry Allingham's birthday, which were held on board Lord Nelson's flagship HMS Victory in Portsmouth.

The Second Sea Lord Vice-Admiral Adrian Johns and veterans' minister Derek Twigg were among dignitaries at a celebratory lunch with Mr Allingham, Britain's oldest man, in the ship's Great Cabin.

Ten of his relatives, including eight grandchildren and great-grandchildren, flew to Britain from their homes in the US to join the party.

Asked how it felt to be turning 111, Mr Allingham, who retired to Eastbourne in 1961, said: "I'm pleased to be seeing another tomorrow. It's just the same as it was at any age. I'm happy to be alive. I never imagined I'd get to 111."

Mr Allingham travelled to Portsmouth on Tuesday, from St Dunstan's care home for blind ex-service personnel in Ovingdean, near Brighton, where he now lives.

First World War veteran Mr Allingham has been awarded accolades including the British War Medal, Victory Medal and the Legion d'honneur, France's highest military honour. Accompanying him yesterday was his close friend Dennis Goodwin, founder of the First World War Veterans' Association, who said: "It's remarkable that a man of his age can lead the life he lives."