An RAF veteran with no surviving family is to get a “fitting send-off” after a photo album revealed his amazing life.
Two friends of George Osborne were the only guests expecting to attend his funeral on Thursday.
They handed an album found in the 96-year-old’s home to an undertaker, who realised Mr Osborne had led a colourful life which also included a spell as head waiter on the Queen Mary.
Hundreds are now expected at the service in Southampton.
Funeral director Paul Capper said it was “an Antiques Roadshow moment” when he first saw the photos which “had not been seen by anybody for 70 years”.
“Whilst looking through the album it turns out that he was, according to the RAF Museum in London, a signaller in Bomber Command Air Crew,” he said.
“It would be criminal for there to only be two people at his funeral.”
The album also revealed Mr Osborne, who never married, was a head waiter onboard the Queen Mary and at the former Southampton Park Hotel.
Mr Capper posted a Facebook appeal urging people to “swell the ranks and give this brave hero who has no family a fitting send-off.”
He said he had never experienced such a “phenomenal” response to an appeal in his 35 years as a funeral director.
“This is one veteran who did so much – such a quiet, private gentleman – and it’s only now – like so many veterans – that you get to hear of their exploits and their courageous conduct for our benefit,” he added.
Mr Capper, of Eastleigh’s Independent Funeral Directors, said Mr Osborne would arrive at Southampton Crematorium accompanied by an escort of bikers.
“He will get a great send-off”, he added.
Mr Osborne died in hospital last month and his funeral is being held at the East Chapel of the crematorium at 09:45 GMT.