Jim Auton who was a World War II veteran died at the age of 95 in January. Hundreds of people turn-up for his funeral as he was awarded 20 medals by six different countries. He was even declared friend of Poland. Unfortunately, he had no surviving relatives who might have attended his funeral.
He is claimed to have been the last British member of Warsaw Air Bridge where supplies were dropped to help Polish resistance fighters. Several veteran groups also put out an appeal to be able to attend his service in Newark. On Thursday, hundreds of people answered the call and came to the funeral to pay respects including fellow veterans.
his coffin was covered in a Union Jack and carried by a guard into the St. Mary Magdalene. He was later buried in Newark Cemetry which was close to Warsaw Air Bridge Memorial which he campaigned for and helped to plan in 1989.
During the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, Mr Auton flew 37 missions with 178 Squadron. He even dropped vital weapons to then Britain’s Polish allies. This mission which lasts 63 days was an unsuccessful attempt to help liberate Polish capital from the Nazis. During this operation killed more than 150,000 civilians lives and destroyed huge parts of the city.
After the war was over, Auton was awarded several honours which included the Polish Presidential Gold Order of Merit and the Soviet Union War Veterans’ Medal. Later in 2000, he was made an MBE. In words of Mr Auton’s caretaker Paul Trickett, Mr Auton was a remarkable man and had many stories to tell about what he and his comrades did for the people of Warsaw which he was immensely proud of.
According to Polish Ambassador Arkady Rzegocki, Mr Auton was a brave and determined man who risked his life to aid Polish resistance by not only being a part of airdrops during the uprising but also working tirelessly to commemorate all of those people who died trying to liberate the country. Rzegocki even said that the Polish people are grateful forever to his efforts calling Auton an example for future generations.