Hundreds of people have packed out a chapel for the funeral of an RAF veteran with no surviving family.
Just two friends were due to attend George Osborne’s memorial service until an eagle-eyed undertaker was handed a photo album.
It revealed the 96-year-old had a fascinating life in Bomber Command and as head waiter on board the Queen Mary.
Mr Osborne’s coffin arrived at Southampton Crematorium with an escort of bikers.
More than 350 people attended the service at the East Chapel, funeral director Paul Capper said.
Helder Zeferino, who made the funeral arrangements and had been friends with Mr Osborne for 17 years, said: “A brave man like this deserved to have a decent funeral to celebrate his life and what he did for this country.
“He was always there for me – he was a very good man.”
The online appeal by funeral director Paul Capper to “swell the ranks and give this brave hero who has no family a fitting send-off,” received a huge response.
He said: “I’ve been a funeral director for 35 years, I’ve never had a response like this.”
Mr Capper of Eastleigh’s Independent Funeral Directors, said said he felt “very honoured to give him his final journey”.
Mr Osborne, who never married, died in hospital last month.