Scores turn out for funeral of RAF veteran who died with no known family

More than 100 people turned out for the funeral of an RAF veteran who died with no known family, following a social media appeal.

Kenneth White lived in the St Ives area of Cambridgeshire and was 84 years old when he died at Hinchingbrooke Hospital in December 2017.

The group Veterans Honoured posted an online plea for mourners to attend his funeral, and a Facebook appeal was launched.

Kenneth White funeral
Servicemen past and present attend the funeral of Kenneth White, an RAF veteran who died with no known family, at Cambridge City Crematorium (Joe Giddens/PA)

More than 100 people turned out to Cambridge Crematorium on Monday, including around a dozen bikers and a coachload from RAF Wyton.

Alan Scott, of the St Ives branch of the Royal British Legion, said that very little was known about Mr White.

He was born near Barnsley in 1933, and served in the RAF in the 1950s including in Iraq and the Persian Gulf.

Mourners attend the funeral (Joe Giddens/PA)
Mourners attend the funeral (Joe Giddens/PA)

"We don't know how he came to be living in this area and we don't know if he's always been single or has a family somewhere," said Mr Scott. "The hospital at Hinchingbrooke made lots of attempts to find out if he had any family.

"Unfortunately they haven't been able to find any."

Sarah O'Connor, 45, of Cambridge, was among those who attended the service.

She said that the funeral of Mr White was the first funeral of a serviceman that she had attended since the death of her brother Sergeant Bob O'Connor, who died following the loss of a Hercules aircraft over Iraq in 2005.

Sarah O'Connor wore the dog tag of her brother Sergeant Bob O'Connor (Joe Giddens/PA)
Sarah O'Connor wore the dog tag of her brother Sergeant Bob O'Connor (Joe Giddens/PA)

Her brother was aged 38 at the time, and she wore his medals to Mr White's funeral.

"Kenneth was reported as not having a family which is wrong, as he's got the military family," she said.

"This is bridging the generation, using the platform of social media to still pay respects to somebody who gave so much.

"Just because you stop serving doesn't mean you stop belonging."

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