Life of Sunderland war veteran celebrated as crowd answers call to attend his funeral service

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Kindhearted veterans were among a community which turned out to pay its respects to a World War II hero.

An online appeal was launched to ensure 89-year-old Robert Newton Martin, who was known as Bob, was not given a lonely send off.

A fellow war veteran leads the herse of Bob Martin to his funeral at Sunderland Crematorium.

A fellow war veteran leads the herse of Bob Martin to his funeral at Sunderland Crematorium.

After the plea was posted by his friend through Facebook and the Echo, a crowd of supporters turned out to today’s service at Sunderland Crematorium.

Bob was originally from Monkwearmouth and lived in Tunstall before moving to Pallion a short time before he died in Sunderland Royal on Monday, June 8, following a brief illness.

He served in Burma during his time with the Royal Army Medical Corp and went on to work as a plater at the Austin and Pickersgill shipyard.

A fellow veteran from the same corp he served in helped rally round to gather people for his funeral.

Nobody deserves to go off by themselves and he got a good send off, very good.

John Vasey

The Royal British Legion its standards, while buglers from the D (Rifles) Coy Fifth Fusiliers performed and biker groups turned out.

Among those who attended was John Vasey, 54, from Washington, who is a self-employed motorcycle instructor, who saw the Echo’s article.

He said: “Most people there had seen it on Facebook or the Echo and a lot attended to recognise his life.

“Nobody deserves to go off by themselves and he got a good send off, very good.”

Crowds gather to mark the life of war vet Bob Martin at Sunderland Crematorium.

Crowds gather to mark the life of war vet Bob Martin at Sunderland Crematorium.

Captain Chris Hall, of the Rifles, said: “It was well attended by veterans and the buglers played the last post.

“The officers are reservists and are in the Army in their spare time.

“The importance of this is massive because this is a generation who fought for us, but a lot of us are also veterans from the Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan and we have members of the reserves disabled wounded whilst on operations and we know what it feels to experience conflict.

“We go completely out when it comes to supporting something like this.”