George Thompson
Around 400 people attended the service following an appeal by the RAF Twitter/@MacBojangles

Hundreds of people have attended the funeral of a WW2 veteran who died with no surviving family members following an online appeal.

Former RAF pilot George Thompson died on 14 May, aged 96, at the care home where he spent the final few years of his life.

Concerned the veteran would not be given a proper send-off as he had no surviving relatives and few friends, the Rotherham Branch of the RAF urged members of the public to join in the service at Hutcliffe Wood Crematorium in Sheffield.

As well as current and former members of the RAF, Air Cadets, police members and standard bearers who will form a guard of honour, the funeral was attended by hundreds of people who had never met Thompson, hoping to give him a proper goodbye.

George Thompson
The RAF described the 96-year-old as a 'hero' who deserved a proper send-off Twitter/@MacBojangles

Speakers broadcasted the service so those standing outside could hear the ceremony taking place inside the crematorium.

Describing why the RAF appealed from the public to come to his funeral, Rotherham branch chairman Derek Padgett said "We wanted to be there for him as there were no family to mourn him and we wanted him to have a good send off, as any hero from the Second World War should."

He added: "He was a man who really wanted to serve his country."

"He was originally in reserved occupation and he could've remained in that until the end of the war. But numerous times he applied to join the Royal Air Force and was refused, but eventually he was accepted."

Having begun training as a pilot on 13 April, 1942, Thompson started flying just 17 days later.

During his time as a piopt he flew bombers in the USA and Canada before training to become a night fighter, where he was deployed to look for Japanese incursions over the Burmese Jungle until the end of the war in 1945.

After leaving the RAF the following year, he married his wife Wilfred Mildred, who passed away in 2004. The couple did not have any children together.

George Thompson
George Thompson left the RAF in May 1946