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An appeal has been launched to give one of the RAF’s last black World War 2 “Pilots of the Caribbean” a hero’s send-off. Peter Brown, a retired Flight Sergeant from the Windrush Generation, was found dead in his flat, aged 96, and his family has not been traced.
A website was set up to try and track down his family members but none of them have been located so far.
And so anyone who wants to pay their respects to Mr Brown is welcome to his funeral, which takes place at Mortlake Crematorium in London on March 29 at 12pm.
A GoFundMe page has also been set up with a target fundraising amount of £500 to ensure that the war veteran has an “inscribed book of remembrance, as a lasting testimony of his memory and contribution.”
Westminster City Council, various RAF and Royal Air Force Association members and organisations, as well as Black History scholars have come together to ensure that he has a funeral “befitting his importance as one of the last (possibly the last) West Indian members of World War 2 RAF aircrew in Britain.”
On the GoFundMe page, organiser Candice McDonald wrote: “An estimated 10,000 people left their families and homes in the Caribbean to join the British armed forces, working behind the scenes and on the frontline.
“Some, like Mr Brown, settled in the UK and are known as the Windrush Generation.
“Mr Brown bravely answered the call and battled for us; together we want to do this last battle for him.”
Evening Standard reports that Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and MPs Johnny Mercer and Tom Tugendhat, who were all members of the armed forces, tweeted their support to find Peter’s family.
Neighbours in Maida Vale, West London, paid tribute to a “humble and cheerful” hero, who came from Jamaica in 1943 and had flown five operations in Lancaster bombers.
He also served in Palestine, Tripoli, Egypt and Malta until 1950 and then went on to work for the Ministry of Defence and the former London County Council.
The manager of Mr Brown’s building, Marcin Laszczychs, said: “Peter was a true gentleman.
“He talked about his role in the war but was humble and matter-of-fact about it.
“One day Peter fell as he came back from the shop. That’s when his health started to get worse.
“Everyone looked out for him and neighbours helped him. It’s so sad we have lost a character.”
A shop worker who saw the veteran regularly said he bought a newspaper every day and knew everything that was going on in the world.
He described him as a being “a kind man and always very smart”.
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Mr Brown was one of 6,000 volunteers from the Caribbean.
Records show when he travelled to Britain he was with 11 other young men who became wireless operators and air gunners.
He passed his aircrew selection board on September 19, 1943, and was posted to 625 Squadron at RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire, home of the Dambusters.
The GofundMe has exceeded the £500 target, with the total standing at £850
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