A Second World War gunner whose funeral was set to be attended by only a handful of people will get a hero’s send-off after the RAF intervened.
Walter Edwards died earlier this month aged 92 and less than ten surviving relatives were set to attend his funeral.
So his family and RAF Halton worked together to organise a more fitting send off which will include a guard of honour, standard bearers and a speech from a serviceman at the camp.
As a ‘tail end Charlie’ Walter bravely fired at enemy planes from a perspex box attached to the back of a Lancaster Bomber.He narrowly escaped numerous dog fights in the skies over England, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal.
After the war he married his wife Gladys and went to work as a printer at Hazell Watson and Viney.
The pair lived in Aylesbury for 65 years.
His niece Gill Saggers, 53 and her husband Colin, 58 contacted RAF Halton and the Royal British Legion to help with the funeral.
The base and the charity quickly offered to provide a guard of honour and standard bearers for the funeral.
RAF Halton’s senior warrant officer will attend and a serviceman will give a reading, at the Amersham Crematorium service on Wednesday.
Colin said: “He did a very dangerous job, there was a very high rate of death for those guys so he did extremely well to survive. It just seemed so sad that someone who had give so much would just fizzle away and no one would know what he had done.
“Nowadays when we walk down the street and see an old man we don’t think anything of it. But all these old men fought in the Second World War and we don’t even give them a second look.”
He added: “In the records we found that his plane had been hit by German flak guns and the engine caught on fire. They had to make an emergency landing on a few occasions.”
In later life Walter developed Alzheimer’s was cared for by former nurse Gladys.
Colin said: “We thought it was so sad that he did all these things and would end up having a funeral with so few people. Gladys has said that Walter would be so happy.”