Hundreds of mourners attended the funeral of a Second World War RAF veteran who died with no living relatives after an online appeal went viral.
Crowds poured into the service held yesterday for Leonard John King who died aged 94 in Southend-on-Sea, Essex.
Members of the Royal British Legion standard bearers escorted the hearse into the crematorium and his Union Jack-draped coffin was carried in by pall bearers.
A bugler also attended, along with locals, bikers and other uniformed mourners.
Mr King served in the RAF’s No 23 Squadron and flew a de Havilland Mosquito during the war.
After the conflict he never married or had children, setting up an electronics company with a fellow RAF serviceman, where he invented a device that allowed deep sea divers to communicate.
Michele Turner-Everett, the divisional secretary of Southend and Rochford SSAFA, said: ‘It is incredibly sad when a veteran dies with no friends or family to celebrate their life and service to our country.
‘After hearing about the funeral for RAF veteran Leonard John King, SSAFA Southend arranged for a bugler and flag bearer to attend to ensure our respects were paid to this brave man.
‘We were honoured to be able to help ensure Mr King had a fitting celebration of his life.’
Speaking before yesterday’s service in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, his carer Karen Tuck, said: ‘This brave man lived in his house alone until four weeks before his death.
‘He had no family or real friends to speak of. I was his carer for many years and have put together a funeral for him.
‘I’m trying to get as many people to come show our respects to this great man as possible.’
She added: ‘If anyone could attend his final farewell it would be lovely. He was a very special man.’
Slideshow: World War II in 100 powerful pictures (Provided by Microsoft GES)