Great War veteran Henry Allingham is now the world's oldest man following the death of the previous holder of the title in Japan today, Guinness World Records said.

Mr Allingham, one of only two surviving First World War veterans in the UK and the last surviving founder member of the RAF, celebrated his 113th birthday on June 6.

The veteran lives at St Dunstan's care home for blind ex-service personnel, in Ovingdean, Brighton.

His spokesman Dennis Goodwin said he did not know if Mr Allingham is definitely now the oldest man in the world, though he knows he is the oldest man in Europe.

He said today: "It's staggering. He (Henry) is philosophical. He will take it in his stride, like he does everything else."

Tomoji Tanabe, the previous world's oldest man, died in his sleep at his home in southern Japan earlier today at the ages of 113.

It has already been a remarkable year for Mr Allingham, who is the sole survivor of the 1916 Battle of Jutland.

In March he received an upgraded Legion d'Honneur from the French ambassador in London and was made the first honorary lifetime member of the Royal Naval Association (RNA).

He was also presented with a doctorate in engineering from Southampton Solent University and was made an honorary freeman of his home city of Brighton and Hove in April.

Mr Goodwin, a long-time friend of Mr Allingham and a founder of the First World War Veterans' Association, said of his expected reaction: "He withdraws in himself and he chews it over like he does all the things he has done in his life.

"That's his secret I think."

Mr Allingham, whose life has spanned three centuries and six monarchs, has five grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren, 14 great-great grandchildren and one great-great-great grandchild.