Funeral appeal for Telford dambusters RAF couple who died 10 days apart
They were married for nearly 70 years and died within just 10 days of each other.
Veterans Victor and Edna Barnett, from Telford, shared their long, happy lives together, but when friends realised they had no family, they reached out to RAF Cosford in the hopes that the couple's funeral could have a proper turnout.
What came next was a social media storm, with hundreds of people wanting to attend and many more sharing the story.
Victor, who was 101, was a Royal Air Force flight sergeant and highly respected radar technician who served on 617 sqn at the time of the Dambusters’ Raid.
He joined the RAF in 1937, and worked on Chain Home, the first line of radar which would have notified of approaching enemy aircraft during the Battle of Britain.
Victor was also a friend of bouncing bomb inventor Barnes Wallis.
Edna, 91, was in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and worked in air traffic control.
The couple met in 1944 in the air force, but were separated by the war.
They met again five years later and married in 1950. They had no children.
Victor, who was known as VJ, died on December 21, with Edna following him on New Year's Eve. The couple had been married for 68 years.
Squadron Leader Chris Wilson, spokesperson for RAF Cosford said: "Victor and Edna may have no surviving relatives, but their Royal Air Force family will be there to say goodbye to them properly and to remember the service they gave to our country."
A friend of the couple realised after their death that with no surviving relatives their funeral would be a very small affair.
He contacted RAF Cosford to see if they could help and they immediately agreed.
They put out a ‘call to arms’ across their social media platforms for members of the public and veterans to attend the funeral and were inundated with responses.
RAF Cosford will supply a route-lining party and two bearer parties at the funeral, which takes place at Telford Crematorium on January 22 at 10am.
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