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Proper send off for former RAF technician

A former Royal Air Force (RAF) technician who recently died at his home in Solihull, is to receive a proper send off thanks to the efforts of Solihull Council.

The Council became responsible for 76 year-old Barry Morgan Neal’s funeral when it could not trace any relatives or friends following his death. When this happens, the Council organises and pays for a basic funeral.

Following a search of his home in Shirley which revealed RAF ‘wings’ stickers and hundreds of air fix models, Environment Services Officers from the Council believed that he may have had a career in the RAF.

Officers spoke to his carers, who said that he had talked about having friends in the RAF but they didn’t know any details. One Environment Services Officer who serves in the Territorial Army, contacted a number of organisations to try and find out more about Mr Neal’s service but after meeting a number of closed doors, took to the internet.

An appeal was published on the ‘Army Rumour Service’ website which was then shared on social media.

Following the appeal, the Knowle British Legion and then the RAF Association contacted the Council offering to help.
The RAF Association this week confirmed that Mr Neal was a Technician in the Royal Air Force between 1962 and 1971. Members of the Solihull Branch of the RAF association will represent the organisation at Mr Neal’s funeral with a standard bearer and coffin drape.

Councillor Mrs Diana Holl-Allen MBE, Cabinet Member for Community Cohesion and Partnerships: “Full credit must be given to our officers who persevered with very little information to go on, to make sure that someone who was clearly very proud of his career, receives a proper send off that pays due respect and recognition to his service.”

RAF Association Area Director for Wales, Midland & South West Paul Baker said: “When we heard about Mr Neal’s death we were keen to do all we could to make sure his funeral was well attended. It is always sad to hear of people dying with no one to mourn their passing, but we know there are many ex-Service men and women, and other well-wishers who would like to pay their respects.

“The reaction to this has already been immense, despite a lack of information. I have had calls from Association branches and other veterans’ organisations from all over the country offering support, so hopefully there will be a good turn-out at the funeral.”

The funeral will take place at 3.30pm on Friday 28 February at Robin Hood Crematorium in Shirley.

For more information contact robinhoodcemetery@solihull.gov.uk or by telephone on 0121 709 7009.

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