THE region's last surviving First World War soldier has died at the age of 107.

Of the five million British men who served their country in the Great War, only three now survive following the death on Monday of Philip Mayne.

Mr Mayne - also the region's oldest person - died peacefully in his sleep at The Terrace nursing home, in Richmond, North Yorkshire.

He was born in Kilburn, north London, in 1899 and joined the Army aged 18, despite earning a scholarship to study maths at King's College, Cambridge.

He was commissioned as a second lieutenant with the Royal Engineers - making him the last surviving British officer - and was preparing to be posted when the war ended.

In an interview with The Northern Echo last year, Mr Mayne put his longevity down to eating a banana a day, adding: "I have never had too much to drink and have always cycled, swam and gardened - I cycled 30 miles when I was 90."

After the war, Mr Mayne completed his degree at Cambridge.

Following his graduation, he worked at the National Physical Laboratory, before joining ICI, at Billingham, in 1924.

By the time he retired, he had risen to technical director.

He and his wife, Evelyn, who died in 1979, had three children, eight grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren.

Mr Mayne lived in his home at Marton, near Stockton, until three years ago.

He moved to Richmond to be nearer his daughter, Muriel Stedman, who lives at Middleton Tyas.

His grandson, Stephen Mayne, a journalist in Australia, said his grandfather had been remarkably lucid until only a few weeks ago.

"There will be plenty of interest in the various heirlooms, including the four letters he received from the Queen for his 100th, 105th, 106th and 107th birthdays," he said.

Last year, Mr Mayne met the country's oldest man, 110-year-old Henry Allingham, who is also a First World War veteran.

During the meeting, the old soldiers discussed their mutual love of golf - Mr Mayne played until he was 80 and Mr Allingham until he was 93.

The three surviving British veterans of the First World War are Mr Allingham, 108-year-old Harry Patch and Bill Stone, 106.

Last year, the Government announced plans to hold a national memorial service after the death of the last-known survivor. The remaining veterans are understood to have mixed feelings about the service. Mr Allingham is quoted as saying: "I don't mind - as long as it's not me."

Mr Mayne's funeral will take place on Monday, April 23, at St Cuthbert's Church, in Marton, near Middlesbrough.