Video link set up for funeral of 'Pilot of the Caribbean' trends now
An appeal to find people to attend the funeral of a WWII pilot who died with no known family has been so successful, organisers have been forced to provide a video feed of the service.
The search was launched after retired Flight Sergeant Peter Brown died alone aged 96 in Maida Vale, west London, without any known family. Mr Brown was a 'pilot of the Caribbean'.
Westminster Council, the Royal Air Force and history enthusiasts teamed up to ensure he has a send-off 'befitting his importance' at Mortlake Crematorium next week.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace plus MPs Johnny Mercer and Tom Tugendhat also tweeted their support in the search for his family.
Flight Sergeant Brown left his native Jamaica to enlist in the RAF in 1943, training as a wireless operator and air gunner before serving on Lancaster bombers during WWII.
The proud veteran later worked for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and became a popular community figure in Maida Vale, but sadly passed away at the end of last year.
Peter Brown, 96, was one of the last so-called 'Pilots of the Caribbean', who served for the RAF on Lancaster Bombers.
Due to Flt Sgt Brown having no known family members, a group of neighbours began a campaign to invite well-wishers to pay their respects at a 'dignified' service to commemorate his long life later this month.
The call was taken up by both Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who honoured the forgotten 'Pilot of the Caribbean'.
Now the veteran's story has now been so widely shared that funeral directors are worried the service will be 'oversubscribed'- and urged only those who knew him to attend whilst inviting others to attend via an online video link.
Funeral directors W Sherry and Sons say they've been so overwhelmed with requests to attend the service that they have set up a live link to allow the well-wishers they can't fit into the 140-capacity chapel to pay their respects.
In 1943, and at the age of 17, Flt Sgt Brown volunteered from Jamaica, and after training as a wireless operator and air gunner,
Neighbours and locals remembered Flt Sgt Brown as a 'true gentlemen' and a 'kind man' who was always smartly dressed
Peter Sutton, director of the funeral, added: 'The service has grown an awful lot of legs.
'It's the biggest funeral we have ever done, and trying to keep track of it is amusing.
'There are quite a lot of dignitaries due to attend, from the Jamaican High Commission to the Assitant Chief of the Air Staff.
'But there is a funeral before and one after Peter Brown's, and we don't want the whole of West London to become gridlocked with well-wishers.
'We only have so many seats in the chapel, and were are hoping Peter's neighbours and people who knew him will be in attendance, as well as dignitaries.'
Julian Futter lived opposite 'stubborn' Flt Sgt Brown for more than four decades and was one of a small group of neighbours who banded together to ensure he received the send-off he deserved.
The 70-year-old said of his neighbour: 'We just wanted to make sure that Peter would be given the respect he deserves.
'He was fiercely independent, and stubborn as well; always friendly and a very proud person.
'I lived opposite him for 40 years. He knew my children and I even once introduced him to one of my grandchildren, who was interested in aircraft.
'Peter took the time to speak with him about his experiences in the RAF.
'He was a really decent, good person who always had time to talk to people.
'He never spoke much about his experiences in the RAF - he was very modest like that and never boasted.'
Flt Sgt Brown, then 17, enlisted in the RAF Volunteer Reserve in September of 1943, as one of 6,000 volunteers from the Caribbean who enlisted to serve with the Royal Air Force and the Royal Canadian Airforce during WWII.
The RAF acknowledge that he may have travelled from Jamaica prior to presenting before the Aircrew Selection Board, which he passed later on September 19, which they say was 'possibly