Sheffield war hero funeral appeal gathers momentum

George William Thompson in about 1945
George William Thompson in about 1945
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An appeal for people to attend the funeral of a 96-year-old Sheffield war hero is gathering momentum.

The Star is calling on readers to pay their last respects to George Thompson, who fought bravely in the Second World War – but has passed away with almost nobody to attend his final send-off.

Since The Star joined the Royal Air Force Association in calling for Sheffield to give George the farewell he deserves, people from around the country have helped to spread the word.

One tweet calling for people to attend George’s funeral, by @AirForce_Carl, has been retweeted more than 4,200 times, with London taxi drivers among those trying to get the message out.

The Star’s editor James Mitchinson is planning to attend the funeral on Friday to pay his respects to George, of Woodseats.

Councillors and ex-servicemen from around the country, including Rochdale and Retford, are also among those who have said they will be going.

And some unable to travel to Sheffield have said they will pray for George on Friday.

George William Thompson was born in Sheffield on September 19, 1917.

Both he and his wife, Mildred, worked at Laycocks Engineering Works, which made aircraft parts.

He was an inspector in the Aircraft Inspection Department and because his role was regarded as a reserved occupation it took him numerous attempts before he was eventually accepted into the RAF for pilot training at the age of 24.

He began his training on April 13, 1942, and just 17 days later he flew solo for the first time.

George had several close shaves as a night fighter before he was demobbed from the RAF in May 1946 with the rank of Warrant Officer.

One reader on The Star’s website – www.thestar.co.uk – fondly remembered working with George in Sheffield after the war.

SecretsAndLies wrote: “I worked with George at Laycocks – he resumed there after the war and became a senior manager.

“He and his wife Millie lived on Ashbury Drive for 30 years, then moved to Leeds after he retired.

“George only returned to Sheffield after Millie died and his health then went downhill, and he lived in a home on The Dale at Woodseats.

“When he was at Laycocks he drove a green Jag, and always maintained his RAF-style moustache.”

Another reader, Etoile, wrote: “I certainly do hope people play their respects at his funeral.”

George’s wife Mildred died in 2004.

He spent his final years in a care home and died on May 14.

n The funeral will take place on Friday, May 30, at Hutcliffe Wood Crematorium, Periwood Lane, at 3.30pm.