By Valentine Low

Henry Allingham might not have cared much for all the pomp and ceremony at his funeral, the dignitaries and the fulsome tributes that flowed to one of the last survivors of the First World War.

This, after all, was the man who when asked how he would like to be remembered replied that he did not want to be remembered at all. "I want to be forgotten. Remember the others."

He might, though, have been pleased to see the frail, elderly woman in black sitting in the front of the church for yesterday's service. She drew no attention to herself, nor gave great outward show of mourning, but she would have known that the eyes of nearly everyone in the 14th century Brighton church would have been upon her: for she was Betty Hankin, the daughter who had not spoken to Henry for nearly 40 years. So long had their estrangement been that Henry used to say he thought she was dead.

With death came a rapprochement of sorts, not soon enough for a reunion between the living, but enough for 89-year-old Mrs Hankin to make the journey from her home in Gloucestershire to pay her last respects to the father who become a national symbol of the sacrifice of a generation.

She did not come alone. With her were several members of her family who, until last week, had no idea that they had a forebear who was held in such regard. The exact cause of the rift remains unclear - and perhaps the family has done nothing to deserve the private sadness of a family feud being made public - but Mr Allingham's lost family made up for the wasted years by turning out in force, right down to his 10-month-old great-great-grandson, Tyler Hankin.