A WORLD-leading academic who taught Oxford University students for an incredible 70 years has died, aged 97.

Tony Honore moved to Oxford in his 20s and lived in the city for the rest of his life as he became a respected authority on Roman law.

He fought in North Africa during the Second World War, sustaining life threatening injuries during the battle of El Alamein in 1942.

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Tony Honore was born in Hampstead, London, on March 30, 1921.

He had a French father and English mother and the family moved to South Africa when he was six.

The youngster grew up in the country and began studying at the University of Cape Town in 1939, but this was cut short by the war.

Mr Honore volunteered to join the Allied war effort, which eventually brought him to El Alamein, where he fought in the Eighth Army.

He was grievously injured in the battle and was rescued by fellow soldiers, before twice nearly dying during surgery in Beirut.

His injuries were so serious that the doctor who treated him could not believe he was still alive when they met again 10 years later.

Shrapnel, and a whole bullet, remained in his body for the rest of his life, leaving him with some mobility problems and severe loss of hearing in his right ear.

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After the war, Mr Honore was elected to the university's Rhodes Scholarship and studied law at New College.

He was offered a teaching job at Nottingham University but instead moved to Oxford's Queen's College, where he remained a fellow for 15 years.

For much of his time in Oxford, Mr Honore lived on the Banbury Road and walked to work every day.

He left Queen's in 1964 and returned to New College, where he stayed as a fellow for six years.

In 1971, Mr Honore became Regius Professor of Civil Law at Oxford, a position he held until his official retirement in 1987.

Here, he was best known for his research into Roman law and its institutional history, on which he published seven books in 50 years.

Despite this, he continued to teach for another three decades, starting with two years as acting warden of All Souls College, where he helped balance the college in favour of more full-time scholars.

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His longevity was a source of amazement to many - Mr Honore taught until he was 90 and still attended the occasional conference and workshop in the final year of his life.

Despite his high standing in the academic world, he was known for his humility and generosity, which endeared him to thousands of students across his many decades of teaching.

Mr Honore was an emeritus fellow and then honorary fellow at All Souls, reflecting the esteem he was held in by students and colleagues.

Meanwhile, in 2000, he was made an honorary fellow at Harris Manchester College, which he helped become a permanent private hall of the university in 1990 and then a full college in 1996.

He died peacefully on February 26 and is survived by his long-term wife Deborah. A memorial service will be held on June 8 at 2.30pm in the Codrington Library, All Souls College.