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Florence's surprise as she marks her 109th birthday

PUBLISHED: 10:16 26 February 2010 | UPDATED: 11:38 08 July 2010

BRITAIN'S last surviving first world war veteran was planning a quiet day with her daughter to mark her 109th birthday.

But Florence Green's low-key celebration was interrupted on Friday when the RAF turned up on her doorstep.

BRITAIN'S last surviving first world war veteran was planning a quiet day with her daughter to mark her 109th birthday.

But Florence Green's low-key celebration was interrupted on Friday when the RAF turned up on her doorstep in King's Lynn.

Mrs Green, who joined the women's RAF in 1918, was presented with a cake from RAF Marham, by 17-year-old mess steward Hannah Shaw, who does the same job that Mrs Green did, 92 years on.

As well as receiving her tenth birthday card from the Queen, Mrs Green was given cards from everyone at RAF Marham and a card from the chief of air staff.

Mrs Green only recently discovered she may lay claim to the honour of Britain's last surviving first world war veteran when she was traced by a researcher from the Gerontology Research Group, which validates the age of anyone over 110 and monitors people over the age of 107. Since the revelation she has been inundated with letters asking for her autograph.

Although Mrs Green did not see frontline service, she worked as a waitress on bases at Marham and Narborough, and still qualifies as a veteran.

Adrian Burns, officer commanding base support wing at RAF Marham, was among a small party who visited Florence at her home in North Lynn.

He said: “She is our oldest veteran. It is as simple as that. She is ex-Marham and she is nice to see. I really like the fact that what Hannah is doing now is what Florence did 92 years ago.

“It is an honour to see someone who fought for their country that long ago.”

Her daughter May, who is 88 and lives with her mother, said they were not really planning on doing anything else but she had brought her mother a cake.

“We are very quiet people; we do not make a mega-fuss. It's the only time I've ever bought a cake. I've been too busy answering letters from America.

“We never expected all this”, she said.

Leading Aircraftman Shaw said: “It's a great honour. I've been thinking about what it would have been like 92-years-ago. It's just amazing really. She was 17 years-old at the end of the first world war and I am 17 now.”

Before Mrs Green's discovery, the oldest British female first world war veteran was believed to have been Gladys Powers who died in Canada in 2008.

Harry Patch from Somerset was the last survivor of the trenches. Mr Patch, who fought at Passchendaele, died last July. Thousands lined the streets of the west country city of Wells as his funeral cortege made its way to Wells Cathedral.

Britain's then oldest man, Henry Allingham, who served in the navy and fought at the Battle of Jutland, passed away at the age of 113 a few days earlier.

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