A recently deceased RAF veteran will have hardly any attendees at his funeral, an undertaker has said, as he makes a public appeal for mourners.
Sidney Marshall, 90, who took part in the D-Day landings serving as a flight sergeant, passed away on 16 June at his home in Lytham St Annes, Lancashire.
With no relatives living locally and a wife, Elizabeth, who died last year, undertaker Eddie Jacobs, 72, is concerned that Marshall won’t get the send-off befitting of a war hero.
However, the attention already garnered by the campaign has been overwhelming, he told The Independent.
“It’s a good thing for Sid, it gives him some recognition. They’re very few and far between now these chaps.”
He also told the Blackpool Gazette that Sid is survived by elderly brothers and sisters but that he has no immediate family of his own.
“He should get recognition for what he has done. Can you imagine as a 21-year-old taking off in a Lancaster loaded with fuel and 2,000lbs of bombs? It does not bear thinking about.”
Marshall, who Mr Jacobs described as a “complete hero,” served in the RAF during World War II as a mid-upper gunner for the 9 Squadron.
“I can remember when I lived in Crewe as a boy hiding under the table when the bombing raids took place at the nearby Rolls Royce factory.
“Sid was out there protecting us.”
Marshall’s funeral will take place at the Lytham Park Crematorium on 4 July at 1.30pm. Mr Jacobs said that the funeral had been moved to the US’ Independence Day to honour Marshall’s efforts at keeping the UK independent.
Past and present members of the armed forces are encouraged to attend, alongside any members of the public that wish to pay their respects.
The funeral directors behind the petition are the same that arranged the funeral of war veteran Harold Jellicoe Percival in November.
Percival’s funeral gained worldwide attention last year when a small request for mourners in a local newspaper went viral.
Hundreds of strangers, including many uniformed servicemen and women, turned up to pay their respects, in a funeral which coincided with Armistice Day.