Lincolnshire

WWII veteran Robert Neale funeral held in Alford

Robert Neale
Image caption Mr Neale, who served with the army in North Africa during World War Two, died in hospital on 27 March

Around 100 people attended the funeral of a Second World War veteran who died without any known family.

Robert Neale, who was 88 and from Belchford in Lincolnshire, died in hospital in March.

His neighbour, Sam Curtis, appealed for people to attend and said it was an 'amazing' turnout.

The appeal was supported by the Horncastle and District branch of the Royal British Legion.

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Ms Curtis said: "I am amazed, it was standing room only. He would have been chuffed to bits."

During the service people heard Mr Neale, who was born in Brighton, tried to sign up for the Army at 14 and again at 15, lying about his age.

He eventually enlisted at 18 and served in North Africa.

Image caption Mr Neale had enlisted in the Army at the age of 18

The service at Alford Crematorium was led by Canon John Thorold, the county chaplain for the Royal British Legion.

"I think it was absolutely wonderful response," he said.

"I am most grateful to those people for coming."

The branch also provided a guard of honour and a bugler for the service.

Image caption Around 100 people, many who did not know Mr Neale, attended the service
Image caption Mr Neale was described as someone who loved betting on the horses and telling stories about his life

Julian Millington, chairman of the Horncastle and District branch of the Royal British Legion, said he had not known Mr Neale personally but found it unacceptable there would be no-one to mourn his passing.

"I know he was injured in Tripoli and that he carried the scars of those injuries for the rest of his life.

"In my mind that makes him a hero and someone who should be rewarded with a memorable funeral."