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Scores to attend war hero's funeral following appeal
A forgotten war hero is set for a fitting send-off after a call for funeral attendees reached thousands of people.
Second World War pilot Robert Argyle, 92, died with no family or close friends in Eastbourne on November 27.
His funeral was set for tomorrow – with just his close carers set to attend.
But following an online campaign, the Royal British Legion and scores of proud locals are set to descend on Eastbourne’s Crematorium.
The Bomber Command pilot moved from his native Canada at the outbreak of war in 1939 to join the Royal Air Force.
He soon found himself on daring missions over Europe in which he lost many of his close friends.
The strategic bombing missions were vital in bringing an end to the war.
However, both sides suffered heavy losses, with some 55,573 crew members losing their lives over enemy skies.
Mr Argyle spent the last five years of his life at St Clement’s Court sheltered housing in Framfield Way.
Housing manager Shirley Duker said: “He didn’t like to talk about the war. He mentioned that he was involved in the raids over Dresden. I think he was quite badly affected by it all. He lost a lot of friends.”
Bomber Command was largely shunned by politicians after the war, with the targeted raids on German cities causing great controversy.
It wasn’t until many years later that campaign medals were issued and the London memorial to crew members was only unveiled in June 2012.
Mr Argyle went to Burma to fight the Japanese before acting as a courier for the Vatican during the Cold War.
In later life he travelled the world as a personal assistant to an international finance tycoon before retiring in Eastbourne.
Ms Duker added: “His main love was animals. He gave a lot to charity and sponsored a dog called Spot at the Dog’s Trust. We have all clubbed together to keep that going.
“It’s what he would have wanted.
“He also liked to read and had recently finished a Street Cat Named Bob, which he really enjoyed.
“He also recently ordered a few books from Amazon but never got round to reading them. He donated his collection to charity.”
After hearing about the former pilot’s death, the Royal British Legion set about arranging a fitting send-off.
Joe O’Riordan, president of the Polegate branch, said: “It’s such a desper- ately sad story.
“Bomber Command never got the respect they deserved and we will be there at his funeral to give a decent send-off.
“I’m not sure yet on numbers but I’m sure there will be plenty in atten- dance.”
Members of the public are invited to the funeral, which takes place tomorrow at 11am.
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