Britain's oldest man received his latest accolade today when he was made an honorary freeman of his home city amid calls for him to be knighted.

Henry Allingham, 112, was feted as an "everyman" who represented an almost entirely diminished generation of people who sacrificed their lives during the First World War.

Mr Allingham, one of just two surviving British Great War veterans, said he was honoured to receive the award from the mayor of Brighton and Hove, Garry Peltzer Dunn.

Mr Peltzer Dunn said he could think of no finer person on whom to bestow a knighthood than Mr Allingham. He said: "I think it is unbelievable that he hasn't been honoured with a knighthood.

"I feel that there is no honour too good for him."

Wheelchair-bound Mr Allingham, who lives at St Dunstan's care home for blind ex-service personnel in the city, said: "I have never let the side down and I will not let the side down."

Pinned to his jumper were four medals including one for the freedom of his former home town of Eastbourne, a Great War medal, a Victory medal and the French Legion d'Honneur.

Wrapped up in his favourite RAF rug made by one of his grandson's wives for his 110th birthday, Mr Allingham enjoyed a cup of tea in the mayor's parlour before the official ceremony.

In attendance was his close friend and founder of the First World War Veterans' Association, Dennis Goodwin, and Mr Allingham's nephew, Ronald Cator and his wife, Shirley, 68.

Mr Cator, 74, from Acle in Norfolk, said: "We are very proud. What can you say of someone who has lived such a long, happy life? He is wonderful."

Brighton and Hove City Council leader Mary Mears described the honour as "one of the proudest moments in the history of the council" and praised him for his "heroic" wartime efforts.

Every single councillor voted to pass a motion awarding Mr Allingham the freeman honour.

It read: "That the honour and title of honorary freeman of the city of Brighton and Hove be bestowed on Mr Henry Allingham in grateful recognition of his exceptional services during both World Wars and his work to ensure future generations do not forget the debt owed to all those who gave their lives to ensure freedom for all."

The title of honorary freeman can be conferred by a special resolution of the council provided two thirds of members vote in favour.

It entitles Mr Allingham to no rights and is entirely ceremonial. The council said it is given to those who have served in some exceptional capacity or to whom the city wants to bestow an honour.

The honour, which was marked with a framed certificate, represents another in a string of accolades handed to Mr Allingham recently.

Earlier this year he was made the first honorary lifetime member of the Royal Naval Association (RNA), following on from receiving an upgraded Legion d'Honneur from the French ambassador in London.

Last month he became Britain's oldest ever man when he turned 112 years and 296 days, surpassing Welshman John Evans who died in 1990 aged 112 years and 295 days. He will turn 113 on June 6.

Mr Goodwin said: "It's surprising how events like this compel Henry to look back on his life."