A FORMER Royal Air Force (RAF) technician is to receive a proper funeral send off thanks to the efforts of Solihull Council, Knowle British Legion and the RAF Association.
When Barry Morgan Neal, 76, died at his Shirley home there was no trace of any relatives or friends – meaning Solihull Council became responsible for organising a basic funeral – known as a Pauper’s Funeral.
But thanks to the efforts of one the Environment Services Officers in charge of Mr Neal’s case – he will now recieve a proper send off attended by armed forces representatives and well wishers from across the region and further afield.
A search of Mr Neal’s home revealed RAF ‘wings’ stickers and hundreds of air fix models, suggesting he may have had a career in the RAF.
His carers also said he had talked about having friends in the RAF but they didn’t know any details.
The possibility he was a fellow member of the armed services sparked one of the council officers – a member of the Territorial Army – into action and he set about finding out more and ensuring the former RAF man’s funeral is well attended.
He contacted a number of organisations and then took to the internet with his appeal which was published on the ‘Army Rumour Service’ website.
The appeal was then shared on social media and Knowle British Legion and then the RAF Association contacted the Council offering to help.
The RAF Association this week confirmed Mr Neal was a Technician in the Royal Air Force between 1962 and 1971 and has confirmed members of its Solihull Branch will represent the organisation at Mr Neal’s funeral with a standard bearer and coffin drape.
RAF Association Area Director for Wales, Midland & South West Paul Baker said: “When we heard about Mr Neal’s death we were keen to do all we could to make sure his funeral was well attended.
“It is always sad to hear of people dying with no one to mourn their passing, but we know there are many ex-Service men and women, and other well-wishers who would like to pay their respects.”
He added that the reaction had already been immense, despite a lack of information.
“I have had calls from Association branches and other veterans’ organisations from all over the country offering support, so hopefully there will be a good turn-out at the funeral.”
Mr Neal’s funeral will take place at 3.30pm on Friday, February 28 at Robin Hood Crematorium in Shirley.