Funeral of one of RAF’s last black WW2 veterans moved to historic church

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The funeral of one of the last black RAF Second World War veterans will take place at a historic church in May after so many people asked to attend the event it had to be postponed.

Flight Sergeant Peter Brown died alone aged 96 in Maida Vale, west London, in December last year and arrangements have been made to ensure Mr Brown receives a “dignified send-off worthy of his life story”.

The service had been due to take place in a 140-capacity chapel in Mortlake, south-west London, in March but it has been moved to St Clement Danes, the RAF Central Church, in Westminster so 600 people can attend and give Sgt Brown the “send-off he deserves”.

It will take place from 11am on May 25.

St Clement Danes church on The Strand in central London (Alamy/PA)

He trained as a wireless operator/air gunner and was posted to RAF Scampton.

After the war ended, he re-enlisted in the RAF, working as a signaller.

A campaign had been launched in The Sun newspaper to find his surviving family members so they could attend his funeral.

Funeral organisers Westminster City Council began a search for relatives with help from historians, military researchers and community groups, shortly after Sgt Brown died.

“The details of his life and subsequent search for relatives have truly captured the public imagination and moved people around the world.

“Our priority has always been to ensure Mr Brown receives a fitting, dignified send-off which allows those wishing to pay their respects the opportunity to do so.”

An RAF spokesperson said: “Flight Sergeant Brown is an example of the selfless contribution of all Commonwealth personnel who have served throughout the RAF’s history.

“We should never forget their sacrifices which have defended our freedom and kept us safe.”

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