1. ITV Report

Hundreds attend funeral of Bomber Command veteran who died alone in Hull

Around 200 people have attended the funeral of a Bomber Command veteran who died alone with no known family in a Hull care home last month.

Derrick Allaway served with bomber command during World War II Credit: ITV News

95-year-old Derrick Allaway served with RAF Bomber Command after volunteering in June 1939 as war was looming. He served as ground crew and specialised in fitting wheels and tyres to bombers, initially working on Fairey Battle light bombers at RAF Hucknall before postings to Canada and to RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire.

The RAF Association says the call for mourners to attend his funeral has highlighted the need to make sure those who gave so much for their country do not live and die in loneliness or isolation.

The charity, which supports the RAF family, is now piloting a new Befriending Service in Lincolnshire, the location for many current and former RAF airfields.

The scheme is due to launch nationwide in March, and the Association is appealing for volunteers to help it to succeed.

It is at times like this that the Association is uniquely placed to drive an appeal to the wider RAF family and to the civilian community, to show their appreciation of the service and sacrifice of men like Derrick.

There are few surviving veterans of World War II but we need to make sure those who remain are not alone, and we also realise that increasing numbers of members of the RAF family are encountering loneliness and isolation in old age.

Like Derick, they gave so much when they were young, and we should be there for them in their later years. We are working to help tackle loneliness and isolation by introducing the befriending service. We need volunteers to ensure its success, whether they help in practical ways such as doing the shopping or just sharing a cup of tea and a chat.

– Rory O'Connor, RAF Association