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RAF veteran's funeral attended by over 100 strangers after social media appeal: 'Least we can do'

After a social media post mentioning that about three people are going to attend his funeral services, many showed up in support.

RAF veteran's funeral attended by over 100 strangers after social media appeal: 'Least we can do'
Image Source: (R) Rewards for Forces/Facebook; (L) Suffolk Royal British Legion/Facebook

Armed forces veterans hold a special place in our society as people who have dedicated their entire lives to the safety & security of the country and its citizens. So, when people heard that only three people were attending the funeral services of a 97-year-old RAF veteran, they showed up in solidarity. After enlisting in 1943, Ronald Gale became a navigator for the 47 Flight Squadron and was later stationed in Canada. The funeral service held at Ipswich crematorium for Ronald Gale received a significant turnout of veterans and serving soldiers, thanks to a social media appeal. A veteran in attendance expressed that the show of support was "the least" they could do, per BBC.

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World War II veteran and Ipswich resident, Mr. Gale, passed away at the age of 97 on December 23, 2022, leaving behind a legacy of bravery and service. Born in 1925, he relocated to Ipswich from Colchester at the young age of eight. When Mr. Gale was old enough, he joined the armed forces to serve his country during World War II. Not much else is known about his life, according to his solicitors, Smith & Co.

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Throughout his life, Mr. Gale was recognized for his service and bravery during the war. His sacrifice and commitment to his country will be remembered by many. His passing is a loss for Ipswich, which has lost a member of its community who embodied the values of duty, honor and sacrifice. Mr. Gale's contributions to his country and his community will never be forgotten. The legacy of his service and sacrifice will continue to inspire generations to come. As Ipswich mourns the loss of this hero, it is essential to remember the incredible sacrifices made by those who fought in World War II and the immeasurable impact they had on our world.



 

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Michele Turner-Everett, a representative from the Colchester Garrison branch of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA), caused a huge reaction on social media when she shared a tweet. She said, "It gives you a real sense of goodwill these people are here to send a veteran on his final journey and he's not going to be alone." The funeral service of the former member of the armed forces in Ipswich was attended by serving soldiers from nearby camps and bases, along with veterans from all branches of the armed services and members of the British Royal Legion. The ceremony was held at the Seven Hills Crematorium in Ipswich, where attendees paid their respects to the deceased veteran.

According to Turner-Everet, the presence of serving soldiers and veterans at the funeral was a significant tribute to his life. She noted that the attendance of fellow servicemen and women was a "mark of respect." She also mentioned that the overwhelming response to the service was a testament to the fact that acts of kindness and solidarity are still present in today's society. The show of support from the community highlights the importance of honoring those who have served their country and made significant sacrifices.

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Mandy Small, a regional fundraiser for SSAFA and an RAF veteran, expressed her amazement and gratitude towards all the people who showed up to pay their respects at the funeral. She was moved to tears "to see so many people here for someone who was willing to give the ultimate sacrifice." Small added that Gale's sacrifice ensured that "we could all live as freely as we do today."

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Small said that there is a brotherhood within the veteran community, and being able to witness it in action was an amazing experience. "Nobody should die alone, [but] unfortunately Ronald didn't ask for help. This is the last act we can give to someone; it's the least we can do, it really is," she said.

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