Ex-servicemen should be treated with the utmost respect and given all the care they need because their contributions to the countries they fight and risk their lives for are invaluable.
Britain during the Second World War called on its commonwealth nations for troops to help them in the war. Many were quick to enlist, and Oswald Dixon was no exception.
Dixon was among the many Jamaicans to respond to the call for reinforcement by the British army. He served in the Royal Air Force as a flight mechanic during the war and trained new recruits till he retired in 1949, The Telegraph reports.
He set sail from Kingston, Jamaica in 1944 with about 6,000 other Caribbean natives. Much about his time in active service was not documented.
With no known friends or relatives, the 100-year-old Ex- RAF died September 25 in a care home in Salford, Greater Manchester but he was not alone.
His new family at Broughton house, the care home where he had lived since May 2015, were with him and after his passing, the manager of the home put out a plea on Facebook inviting the public to his funeral saying, “Oswald said he “always tried to live life as it should be lived, by doing things for other people”.
It added: “His warm character will be missed by everyone involved at Broughton House.”
According to Forces news, hundreds of mourners and well-wishers responded to the call and though the rains were pouring in on Wednesday, they all stood with their umbrella to send Dixon off in style.
Other servicemen were also in attendance, RAF Cadets and members of 34 Squadron brought his coffin into the chapel at Agecroft Cemetery for the final funeral rites presided over by veteran minister, Johnny Mercer.
Mercer in a tweet said, “A huge privilege to attend the funeral of 100-year-old RAF veteran Oswald Dixon in Manchester this afternoon. He died with no known family; but actually, had a huge one who all turned out today.”
Honorary consul Wade Lyn CBE, representing the Jamaican high commissioner and government, read a tribute on behalf of the high commissioner, His Excellency Seth George Ramocan, The Guardian reports.
Members of the general public were honored to be at his funeral travelling from all over the country to be present.
Tony Bryan from Cheltenham, who didn’t know Oswald prior to the Facebook post said, “I didn’t know him. It’s not about the expense, it’s not about the distance, I just had to be here.”
Veteran, James Cocker, speaking to Forces News said, “In the paper it said he had no family, and you cannot let him just fade away, because we are all fading away… it respects at the end of the day.”
Chris Lindsay, CEO of Broughton House thanked everyone for showing “tremendous compassion and support” and was happy with the overall turnout after the care home invited people to his funeral.