Mourners line the streets to say goodbye to war hero George - gallery

War hero George Pratt has been given an an emotional farewell as more than 150 mourners turned out for the Burma Star veteran's funeral.

Veteran George Pratt's funeral at St Augustine's Church in Rugeley
Veteran George Pratt's funeral at St Augustine's Church in Rugeley

George, who lived in Rugeley, died on August 31 just a few months after his 100th birthday back in March.

The father-of-three and grandfather-of-three was awarded the Burma Star and the Arctic Star and claimed to have broken the land speed record in the Arctic Circle while fleeing the Nazis on a motorbike.

The poignant ceremony at St Augustine's Church was attended by family, friends and locals – as well as veterans and local politicians.

Mourners walked from George's home at Surrey Close down to the church and lined the route along Sandy Lane, to greet a procession.

It was led by Staffordshire Regimental mascot Watchman and handler – as bikers and flag bearers followed the procession.

His Burma Star was placed on the top of his coffin before being carried into the church by friends and family.

GALLERY: Friends and family say farewell to George

George’s son Jon paid an emotional tribute to his late father, who will be remembered not only for his bravery in the Second World War but for his love and passion in restoring old vehicles and selling them.

Jon said: “He loved being with people and chatting.

“He welcomed everyone at the door and would give them tea, coffee, and wouldn’t let them leave without giving them a gift.

“He loved a deal and was a charming salesman, as long as he was making a couple of bob he was happy – ‘another day, another dollar’ he would say.”

He served in the British Expeditionary Force where he was first posted in France after joining the Royal Army Ordnance Corps and becoming a dispatch rider.

George served in France, Norway, Burma and India

George was part of team who built landing strips in the north of Norway during the Second World War.

It is said he was chased out by the Germans before returning on his old BSA single-cylinder m20 496cc motorbike and breaking the land speed record in the Arctic circle.

The veteran was posted to England in September, 1940, as part of the Battle of Britain, where he was based at airfields in Kent – where he would first meet his wife Ethel.

Two years later he was posted out to Kankinara in Inida where he achieved the rank of Warrant Officer Class One.

George with his family at his 100th birthday party earlier this year

Former Andy Sawyer, a friend of Jon through the Help a Squaddie programme where he works, which supported George, said: “It was a fitting send off and was just what he deserved.

“Not only has he reached the grand old age of 100 but what he but what he did in World War Two to get the Burma star and Arctic Star – he was a true gent and a real hero.

"I worked for Help a Squaddie and got involved with him a few years back. He would recall his stories when we went to go round. He was a fantastic friend. We've had people come from all over the country just to say thank you to him."

The D-Day Darlings sang The White Cliffs of Dover by Vera Lynn as people left the church.

It was followed by internment at Stile Cop Cemetery and wake at Lea Hall Working Men’s Club in Sandy Lane.

He left the Army at the end of the war and would go on to continue his passion for restoring and selling old cars.

His 100th birthday, organised by Help a Squaddie, was celebrated at his home in Rugeley and was attended by Scouts, members of the Royal British Legion and Staffordshire Regiment and the D-Day Darlings.

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