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Hundreds pay respects at funeral of Dambusters couple

An appeal by the Royal Air Force saw 350 people attend the funeral

Hundreds of people have attended the funeral of a Dambusters engineer and his wife, after they answered a call to arms from the RAF.

Victor and Edna Barnett, who met in the RAF and were married for 68 years, had no surviving children or living relatives after they died within 10 days of each other.

So the RAF launched an appeal for people to attend the service at Telford Crematorium on Tuesday, and 350 responded.

Serving personnel carried the coffins and there was a flypast by a helicopter.

Coffins are carried into the crematorium during the funeral (Aaron Chown/PA Wire)

Mr Barnett, who was 101, was an RAF flight sergeant and radar technician who served on 617 squadron at the time of the Dambusters’ Raid.

His wife, 91, was in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and worked in air traffic control.

Mr Barnett died on December 21, while Mrs Barnett died on New Year’s Eve.

A friend of the couple told RAF Cosford it was likely just four people would be able to attend the funeral, causing them to spring into action.

The order of service for the funeral (Aaron Chown/PA Wire)

Squadron Leader Chris Wilson, from RAF Cosford, said: “We’ve all come together today to say goodbye to Victor and Edna Barnett who both served with the Royal Air Force in World War Two.

“Unfortunately when they died over the Christmas period they had no surviving relatives and no known family, so we from the Royal Air Force have come together to say goodbye to them.

“Once you are in the Royal Air Force you’re always in the Royal Air Force, even when you leave.

A flypast by a Juno helicopter at the funeral at RAF Cosford (Aaron Chown/PA Wire)

“We look after each other, so in a situation like this where there is no surviving family we do come out and we make sure that they depart properly.”

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