Hundreds of people answered a call to attend the funeral of a Second World War veteran

Daniel Matthews
Wednesday 11 November 2015 10:50
news

Certainly, but that wasn't always the case. Mr Bryan's nephew, Tony Budgett, had feared that only four people would attend the funeral of the Second World War veteran who died last week aged 92. After his death Mr Budgett launched an appeal to current and ex-service members and the wider community, asking them to join the service and give his uncle the send-off he deserved.

His appeal received thousands of shares on social media and the family were inundated with messages from people across the country who were hoping to attend.

"I was expecting perhaps half a dozen old boys from the [Royal British] Legion, which I would have been delighted with," Mr Budgett told the Manchester Evening News.

So he must have been really delighted?

At the service Mr Budgett told fellow mourners that his family were humbled by the turnout. His wife Susanne and their two young children were the only other people he had originally expected to attend.

"Tom was a very solitary, self-reliant guy. He would have puffed out his chest and marched through it, but secretly, he would have been staggered by the response," he said.

So who exactly was Tom Bryan?

During the Second World War he fought the Japanese army in Burma in "hellish" conditions. The exchanges involved hand-to-hand combat and, according to his nephew, changed him forever.

"You would never have known he'd been to war. He would talk about it up to a certain point, but then he would just stop, it was like the shutters had come down," he said.

After returning home, Mr Bryan turned to bricklaying and eventually settled in Cheshire. He never married or had children.

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