One of the RAF’s last black World War II veterans received a resounding sendoff after a campaign was launched to search for relatives in order to honor his contributions in the Royal Air Force.
Hundreds of mourners gathered for the funeral of Flight Sergeant Peter Brown who passed away aged 96 in Maida Vale, West London in December. He had no known relatives, prompting an appeal to find the RAF pilot’s family.
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Flight Sergeant Brown was believed to be one, and perhaps the last, of the so-called “Pilots of the Caribbean”. He came to the UK from Jamaica as part of the Windrush generation.
His funeral service was initially scheduled to be held at a chapel in Mortlake, southwest London, with a capacity of 140, but an overwhelming appeal brought hundreds who wanted to give him a hero’s farewell, and so his funeral service was moved to the RAF Central Church, St. Clement Danes, in Westminster.
600 mourners turned out to bid adieu to Brown, including film star Colin McFarlane, BBC journalist Clive Myrie, Top Boy actor Michael Ward and Coronation Street’s Trevor Michael Georges. Representatives from Caribbean community groups and those who helped in the search for his relatives were present as well.
His cousin, Brooke Alexander who traveled all the way from Jamaica said he “dedicated himself to the protection of people and because of this we will remember him. His legacy will live on in the minds and hearts of people who have connected with this story.”
Born in Jamaica in 1926, he signed up for the RAF Volunteer Reserve in September 1943, and after training as a wireless operator/air gunner he served in Lancaster bombers during WWII.
After the war ended he re-enlisted in the air force, working as a signaler.